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Leadership from a brief perspective

Naked Leader Week – 199 (w/c Monday 26 March 2007)

Leadership from a brief perspective

Boris Yeltsin, the first-ever democratically elected leader of Russia, had a reputation for never using a few words, when many would do.

At one press conference, with deadlines short, this was the interchange:

Journalist:     “Mr Yeltsin, How’s it going? And please, could you answer in just one word?” (Much laughter and good natured applause)

Mr Yeltsin:     “Good” (Bewildered silence)


Journalist:     “Mr Yeltsin, could you just expand on that?”

(At this point another journalist shouts – “in two words”)


Mr Yeltsin:     “Not Good”

I love brief answers, and my favourite of all time came last week – out of the blue.

On my last ever IT leadership event called Take Your Place, everyone has a question to answer in one minute, and we are strict they take a full minute.

Michele Hughes, IT Executive for Procter and Gamble, was asked the question – “How do you keep this message of your future – your choice, sustainable, so it doesn’t just disappear into the memory?”

A massive question. We all wondered how Michele would keep to just one minute!

She sat there in silence for a few moments, and then she said:

“Live it”

From one of the final delegates on one of the final questions on the final event of its kind after five years, the definitive “answer.”

A part of me thought – “Why have I written two books, when those two words would have done?”

Live it

Thank you Michele, thank you

Please, whoever you are, wherever you are, live as if you mean it.




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