Friday, April 18, 2008

Extreme Leadership Model Explained: LEAP

In Steven Farber’s book the "The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership", he lays out the principles for the Extreme Leadership model.  He uses the acronym LEAP to express this model.  It stands for Love, Energy, Audacity, and Proof.

Love – For an individual coming to the Extreme Leadership model from the business community you will likely look at this first principle as awful “foo-foo”.  It is likely that you are taking it in the wrong context.  What Steven Farber is talking about is love of work, love of community, or love of vision.  What he is really talking about here is passion and flow.  It is evident that individuals will work harder at things they are passionate about.  That this will lead to flow.  The Extreme Leadership model is about leading people into that place of passion and flow.

Energy – The Extreme Leadership model emphasizes the need for energy.  Although this is often a natural consequence of the passion and flow described by the Love principle, it is a necessary ingredient for the success of any endeavor.  The lack of energy is often an indication that the Love component has been lost.  In the Extreme Leadership model the goal is to lead a group into a positive feedback loop around energy.  It is to create a space where energy always spiraling upward.

Audacity – This principle of Extreme Leadership is about the unexpected.  Audacity can be defined:

  • Fearless daring; intrepidity.

  • Bold or insolent heedlessness of restraints, as of those imposed by prudence, propriety, or convention.

  • An act or instance of intrepidity or insolent heedlessness

It shows its self in several ways within the leadership process.

First, people are inspired by audacious acts.  They gravitate to the daring individual.  It is quite a bit tied to the hero myths.  The character Indiana Jones is an excellent portrayal of audaciousness that our culture embraces.  Everyone wants to be the hero.  When an extreme leader acts in a way that is perceived to be heroic, he earns credibility.

Second, ideas stick when they are simple unexpected concrete credible emotional stories.  Audacious actions and ideas often lead to these types of stories.  The audaciousness particularly feeds the unexpected part of the story.

Third, there is a fine but very clear line between audacious and obnoxious when it comes to actions.  Both audacious and obnoxious actions are often bold, insolent and run counter to convention.  Despite this people do clearly see the difference.  The reason for this is that obnoxious actions are always self serving.  Audacious actions are always in service of other.  As long as people can clearly see that your actions are in service of another person or a bigger cause, they will perceive your action as audacious and not obnoxious.


Proof – In the Extreme Leadership model proof is the difference between a leader and a poser.  The former being the individual who can deliver the goods, the latter being the individual who pretends to be part of the crowd.  Proof is about linking your words and your actions and creating a sense of integrity around your leadership.  It delivers the credibility you need to make your message stick and draw people to your activity.

Leadership Learning:

In this article I have explained the LEAP concept of the Extreme Leadership model.  In a future article I will explain the OS!M and the edge.  I highly recommend that anyone who wishes to be fully indoctrinated in to the Extreme Leadership model to read Steve Farber’s "The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership."

No comments: