Personal Commitment, Personal Action

In his meticulous study, Authentic Leadership: Courage in Action, Robert Terry analyzes historic definitions of leadership and concludes: “If there is one dominant connection . . . it is action.”2 The leader can observe, contemplate, study, and speak—and in fact must do all of these well. But change only happens with action. Action is what we hear about, because without it, the message means nothing.

“I can attack with three divisions in the morning.” These were the words of General George Patton in 1945 when Eisenhower asked several generals how long it would take them each to be ready for an assault on Berlin. Because of this crisp and dramatic response—and his superiors’ confidence in ...

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