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A leader in (and on) “Jeopardy!”


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"I'll take 'motivating employees' for $200, Alex!" the take-a-pill leader says.

"According to a gaggle of esteemed psychology professors, this is the most important technique to keep your team happy," Alex reads from his card.

"What is 'money'?" the take-a-pill leader responds.

"Oooh! I'm sorry," Alex says. "The answer is 'engagement.'"

"I'll take 'business strategy' for $500," says the quick-handed, take-a-pill leader on his next turn.

"This is the best way to craft business strategy," Alex reads.

"What is 'copy your competition'?" the take-a-pill leader says.

"Oooh! Wrong again," Alex says. "The answer is 'using a collaborative approach to identify an integrated set of actions to create a sustainable advantage.'"

"Huh?" says the take-a-pill leader.

Have you met a take-a-pill leader recently? There are more of them as our society "evolves" to a faster-paced, low-attention-span state. It's probably fruitless to complain about the text messaging, Twitter, microwave world we live in, but some things take time. Have you ever tried to cook coq au vin in 30 minutes?

When I was a young manager, I was very fortunate to have a mentor who was president of a large public company. He used to bark at me - and I didn't work for him! - when I made snap decisions without the appropriate facts or tried to push an initiative without fully developing a roll-out plan. He called it take-a-pill leadership, as in, "Why aren't they complying? I sent out a memo!"

Capt. Picard of Star Trek fame might be able to get away with proclamations using his patented phrase, "Make it so!" but it doesn't work in real life. A better role model would be famous UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, who used to say, "Be quick, but don't hurry!"

The leader with the attention span of a gnat can often spout out proclamations in staccato format, but I'll bet on John Wooden's approach every time.


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Todd Ordal

Todd Ordal is president of Applied Strategy®. Todd helps CEOs achieve better financial results, become more effective leaders and sleep easier at night. He is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000. Todd is the author of Never Kick a Cow Chip On A Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want To Be (Morgan James Publishing, 2016). Connect with Todd on LinkedIn, Twitter, call 303-527-0417 or email todd@toddordal.com.

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