Chapter 7Lessons from the Journeys of Five Leaders


The subject of leadership continually arouses debate. Are leaders born or made? Does the leader make the job, or does the job make the leader? Can training make leaders? What differentiates leaders from others?

The leaders featured in these chapters and their pivotal decisions demonstrate that leaders develop and evolve, even if they are born or raised to lead. All, in fact, turned insecurities into drivers of achievement, examples of how a relative disadvantage can serve as a powerful motivator. The spark of born leaders, in any case, must be lit by experiences that, in these stories, are the pivot points. The spark becomes a fire that, with decisive action, turns potential into reality.

If there is a secret successful leaders have, it is this: Leading is about creating the job and the leader’s value to the mission. This is a very different approach from conventional thinking that success comes with doing what worked for others. Leaders want to know how others handled similar situations and their outcomes. However, leaders take that as a creative spark and adapt it to their own goals and methods. Leading, for them, is figuratively writing their own book. Each book is unique, because, as a client says, much of leadership is influencing the river of events that aren’t, and can’t be, planned.

In all the leadership journeys in this book, the leader made the job and the job made the leader. They ...

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