In Leadership, Results Are Limitless

A key stumbling block to leadership success is the very mind-set of the leaders.  Those leaders who don’t believe that results are limitless are selling their jobs and careers short. Here is a four-step process for manifesting a “results are limitless” mind-set.

By Brent Filson - 2005

Results are limitless.  That’s not a supposition.  That’s a fact.  Leaders who don’t believe that don’t understand the power of leadership to achieve great results.  Leaders who believe it and live by their belief have an unmatched advantage over those leaders who don’t. 
To begin to understand how and why results-are-results are limitless, consider these facts:
* In 1878, Jean Bouillaud, member of the French Academy of Sciences, said upon hearing a demonstration of Thomas Edison’s phonograph, “It is quite impossible that the noble organs of human speech could be replaced ignoble, senseless metal.”

* In 1899, Charles H. Duell (Commissioner of U.S. Office of Patents.), urging President William McKinley to abolish his office, said,“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”  

* An 1909 article in the Scientific American stated, “The automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced.”  

* Popular Mechanics stated in March 1949: “Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps only weight 11/2 tons.”

The point isn’t that experts are wrong.  Experts, we know, have been wrong countless times.  The point isn’t that things change.  That’s obvious.  The point is this: because things change, results are limitless.  In other words, whatever results you are achieving, you can always achieve more.

This may seem like a non sequitur.  After all, leaders know that things change.  But many leaders whom I have encountered don’t make the connection and fail to realize that results are limitless.

But there is a connection -- a profound connection.  And leaders who don’t make that connection, don’t live that connection, are giving short shrift to their leadership and the people they lead. 

Living by the results-are-limitless credo can set you apart as a leader who consistently gets results, no matter what the challenge you face. 

Start to take a small but well-defined step to manifest results-are-limitless leadership. 

(1) Identify.  Identify one thing you think is NOT BEING QUESTIONED.  Make sure it is something people believe has “reached the limit of its development.”  It may be a product or features of a product.  It may be the way your organization is structured.  It may be a successful engineering program.

(2) Question.  Treat it as if it’s fundamental premise were false.  Can you shoot holes in the logical reasons for its existence?  If it ain’t broke, see what would happen if you break (change) it — with one end in mind, achieving more results.  

(3) Change.  See if you can come up with answers that will lead either to replacing what you’re questioning or improving it. 

(4) Continue.  Don’t look at this as an academic assignment.  It’s not homework.  It’s the beginning of making the credo part of the DNA of your leadership.

Repeat: This as a leadership endeavor. Determine who are the cause leaders you need to make the change happen.  Talk to them about how they would take leadership to affect that change.  You should not only have “What if ... “ discussions but more importantly, “Why not ... “discussions.


2005© The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He is founder and president of The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. – Celebrating 25 years of helping leaders of top companies worldwide achieve outstanding results every day. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get his FREE report "7 Steps To Leadership Mastery"