Often at night I will read for a few minutes to quiet my mind, to fill my subconscious with productive or inspirational thoughts for the evening’s rest. The other night I picked up Peter Drucker’s “The Effective Executive.” Even though it was written in 1967, I was struck by the power of his words and the insightfulness of his thoughts.

“The standard of any human group is set by the performance of the leaders. In sports the moment a new record is set, a new world of possibility opens up. When Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile, “soon average sprinters in every athletic club in the world were approaching yesterday’s record, while new leaders began to break through the four minute barrier.”

Why the sudden burst in performance? Did athletes the world over suddenly grow stronger? No. They BELIEVED in a new possibility, so they went out and created that reality. In business, if leaders do not BELIEVE quality is possible, if leaders do not BELIEVE that higher standards can be achieved, then they have handicapped (sabotaged?) the very people they are supposed to enable.

“In human affairs, the distance between the leaders and the average is a constant. If leadership performance is high, the average will go up. The effective executive “makes sure (s)he puts the leadership position into the standard setting, the performance-making position, the person who has the strength to do the outstanding, the pace-setting job.”

Leaders MUST believe.

Closing quotes:

“Too many times we mistake the limits of our vision and beliefs for the limits of reality.”

“I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.”  — Alexander the Great

“The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.”  — John Buchan