Developing Level Five Leaders

A great book to appreciate the definition of a Level Five leader is Jim Collins’ “Good to Great”.  According to Jim Collins, a Level Five leader “builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will”.  Chapter 2 of “Good to Great” describes in plain language the traits and characteristics of a Level Five leader.  Most importantly, these unique and hard to find leaders subordinate their private ego needs away from themselves and into the more important goal of building a great organization.  Credit is always given to the team and team members.  Conversely, responsibility for failure rests at the top.  The Level Five leader channels ambition into persistence with ambition first and foremost for the organization he or she leads.  The potential to grow Level Five leaders and organizations applies to all of American society and includes businesses (both for and not for profit), military formations, banking institutions, and of course, government at every echelon.

We believe that a major shortcoming in America today is that our leaders fall well short of the Level Five paradigm.  Level Five Associates intends to advance this important discussion and contribute towards building Level Five leaders and organizations.

Recall that we identified our Big 6 Leadership principles to assist in developing Level Five leaders and organizations.  These principles are the building blocks of a Level Five culture.  Unfortunately, too many leaders today would not recognize or be comfortable operating in such a culture.  Future blog posts will expand upon each principle.

  1. Set the Azimuth
  2. Listen
  3. Trust and Empower
  4. Balance the Personal and Professional
  5. Do the Right Thing When No One is Looking
  6. When in Charge, Take Charge

Defined by the right culture and led by Level Five leaders at every echelon, organizations will flourish and accomplish amazing results.  Imagine the potential outcome of combining the Big 6 Leadership principles with a deliberate strategic plan with the end-state clearly defined with measurable results.  Armed with such a strategy, organizations will achieve a new level of teamwork and success defined in profitability and/or mission accomplishment.  Without the right culture and a real strategic plan, however, organizations will continue to be defined by failure and sub-optimization.

Imagine what the US Government could achieve if we were led by Level Five leaders who understand the value of the right culture supported by a comprehensive strategic plan to deal with each of the challenges we face today, to include the economy, health care, energy, immigration and border control, and international Islamic extremism.  We’ll develop this notion in future blog posts.  As we used to say in the Army before crossing the line of departure, “buckle your chin strap!”

Level Five Associates looks forward to promoting this discussion.  Along the way, we will develop the Big 6 Leadership principles and share the value of strategic planning.  If your organization is poorly led and doesn’t know where it’s going, you will sadly reap what you sow.  The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.  Help spread the word!