In examining the five pivotal decisions of the five leaders, the crucial, if obvious, question is whether the same decision-making strategy applies to the general population. If this has broad application, then, what can we learn from this about leadership development and its relationship to organization performance and the course of careers?
As mentioned in the first chapter, the empirical study tested three hypotheses about leadership. First, there are five pivotal opportunities to make decisions that determine the course of a career. Second, accountability and ingenuity drive leadership behavior. Third, when accountability and/or ingenuity fall short in decision making, other behaviors produce less successful outcomes.
A 15-minute questionnaire was administered via an Internet research panel to 500 adults who met our screening criteria: older than 21 years of age; graduated from college; in professional occupations, including small business owners; and specific employment status. To qualify for the survey, respondents had to be working full-time or if working part-time had to be older than 25 years of age. Unemployed respondents had to meet one of the following conditions: unemployed and looking for work, unemployed and not looking for work (if 25 or older, for example, a full-time mother), unemployed and a full-time student (if 25 or older), or retired.
Respondents who met these criteria represent 16 percent of adults in the United States, ...