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The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows that You Don't by Bill McBean

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Chapter 3

Fact 1: If You Don’t Lead, No One Will Follow

The words leader and leadership have become part of our everyday language. But as common as these words are, the reality is that among businesspeople, real leaders and leadership are very uncommon. Leadership is one of those things everyone believes a successful business has to have, but few people understand why, or what leadership actually is. The bottom line is, if you’re an owner or about to become one, with money and pride on the line, you have to know what leadership is, and be ready to put it into practice. If you don’t, the likelihood of your business’s surviving is slim. And even if it does survive, at best only a small percentage of your business’s potential will be realized.

Of course, leadership is not only a business issue. One extraordinary example of leadership is the story of Apollo 13, the NASA moon mission launched on April 11, 1970, and later chronicled in an Academy Award–winning film. When an oxygen tank exploded two days into the mission and the crew was put in grave danger, it was flight director Eugene Kranz and mission commander James A. Lovell who stepped up and provided the leadership needed to save them. When Kranz insisted that “failure is not an option,” it set up a leadership chain of events, from properly analyzing the overall situation, to focusing on the right issues, to picking the best of the worst choices, to solving each problem in an orderly fashion. He pushed people to their limits, ...

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