The Best Leaders Make Things Happen
Great leaders take ownership and drive results instead of making excuses.
WRITTEN BY: ADAM DANYAL
We’ve all seen leaders who excel at pointing fingers. When things go awry, they’re quick to blame others or outside forces beyond their control. The economy, the budget, the staff - there’s always an excuse.
Great leaders operate differently. They don’t make excuses or pass the buck. As Harry Truman famously said, “The buck stops here.” Exceptional leaders take full responsibility for results, good or bad. They own problems completely, rather than foist blame on people or circumstances.
This accountability mindset is the foundation for making things happen. Leaders who take extreme ownership of outcomes display an internal locus of control. This means they believe their own actions and choices - not luck or chance - determine results. They reject the idea that external factors decide their fate.
Armed with this empowering perspective, standout leaders make things happen through self-determination and relentless drive. They channel the gritty persistence of Thomas Edison, who viewed setbacks as learning opportunities on the road to inevitable success. “I have not failed 10,000 times,” Edison remarked. “I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”
Like Edison, determined leaders learn from mistakes and stay laser-focused on solutions. When obstacles arise, they get creative and try new approaches until they achieve the desired outcome. They don’t make excuses or wait for help. They prototype iterative solutions and test them quickly, failing fast and improving faster. This Fail Forward ethos moves them closer to the target outcome through dogged experimentation and optimism.
Ultimately, leaders who make things happen are simply more driven by results than reasons. They know excuses don’t create value or competitive advantage. Outcomes do. So they tune out the noise, ignore distractions, and do whatever it takes to deliver. They hedge their bets through contingency planning and bulletproof execution.
At the end of the day, leaders make things happen not by complaining about challenges but conquering them. They forge ahead with grit and ingenuity until the outcome is secured. They don’t point fingers or make excuses. They point the way forward. Be the leader who makes it happen. The buck stops with you.
From our Leadership Bookshelf:
WRITTEN BY: JULIA DANYAL
In their book “Extreme Ownership,” former Navy SEAL commanders Jocko Willink and Leif Babin provide insights on leadership accountability that can help us strengthen our newsletter message.
Here are some key takeaways:
Takeaway 1: Extreme owners take complete responsibility for failures and don't make excuses. They analyze setbacks objectively to improve future performance.
Takeaway 2: Extreme owners have an internal locus of control. They believe their own actions and decisions determine outcomes, not external factors.
Takeaway 3: Extreme owners are focused on mission accomplishment, not reasons for failure. They do whatever it takes to deliver results and don't wait for help.
Takeaway 4: Extreme owners lead by example. They model the accountability and ownership mindset they want their team to embody.
Willink and Babin's principles of extreme ownership provide a helpful model for leaders seeking to take complete responsibility for outcomes. By rejecting excuses and driving relentlessly toward mission success, leaders can inspire their teams and make things happen.