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The Radical LEAP – Steve Farber

June 4, 2019

I just finished the tenth anniversary edition of The Radical LEAP by Steve Farber and want to encourage my clients and colleagues that manage people and lead organizations to read this book.  Why do I want my clients and colleagues to read this book?  One, because your career trajectory (and resultant career earnings), in most likelihood, will depend on your talent for managing people and resources.  Two, because most of us tend to get complacent about leadership and do not challenge ourselves to try out new ideas.

The Radical LEAP is a parable about leadership based on these four ideas: cultivate Love, generate Energy, inspire Audacity and provide Proof (LEAP). The majority of readers will probably feel squeamish about using the term love in a business or work context.  Also, for government or financial services – inspiring audacity in those contexts is usually unheard of, or very rare.  But let’s take a look at Steve Farber’s ideas and see if they can intrigue and motivate you:

Cultivate LOVE

•    Very few business people take the time to reflect on why they care about anything they do:  why they care about the decisions they make, why the care about their customers and employees or why they care about their business beyond the paycheck.  Many managers, supervisors and executives are not motivated by caring.  But leaders are!

•    Leaders’ care is rooted, ultimately in love.  Love of what?  Love of what future they are trying to create together.  Love of what principle they are trying to live out, love of what people they have around them, and love of what they want for their lives.  Love of what customers they have, and love of what customers they might have in the future if they are smarter, faster and more creative in serving their needs.  Love of what impact they can have on the lives of our customers and if they are audacious enough, on the world as a whole. Love of what our business and organization really is and love for what, when we cut away the chaff, we really do at work every day.

•    Make sure that your heart’s in you work and that you bring yourself fully and gratefully into everything you do.  If you are not connected to your own work, you can’t expect to inspire others in theirs.  

•    A vision statement doesn’t generate energy, love does, great ideas do, principles and values do.

•    Make a commitment, right now, that no matter where you sit on the org chart, no matter what it says in your job description, stand up for what’s right and normal constraints be damned. The world needs your influence and your audacious action.  Take a stand, put your skin in the game, advocate for integrity.  You can certainly change the world, small w that you and yours live in.  The small world of your company, the world of your employees, the world of your industry or the world of your family.  To deny that is to deny your capability as a human being.

•    Love is the ultimate motivation of the Extreme Leader; love of something or someone, love of a cause, love of a principle, love of the people you work with and the customers you serve, love of the future you and yours create together, love of the business you conduct every day.


Generate Energy

 •   The Extreme Leader is a generator, a powerful force for action, for progress, and an enthusiastic believer in people and in their capacity to do the awesome.

Inspire Audacity

•     For the Extreme Leader, audacity is a bold and blatant disregard for normal constraints in order to change the world for the better.  Love-inspired audacity is courageous and filled with valor.  The Extreme Leader is audacious not to serve his or her own ego, but to serve the common good.  And to do so boldly and blatantly and let the naysayers be damned.

Provide Proof

•    Are you really an Extreme Leader?  Prove it.
Prove it through the alignment between your words and your actions.  Prove it by standing up for what’s right.  Prove it through your own experience.  Prove it through it through your phenomenal successes.  Prove it through your glorious failures. And prove it all on these three levels.
Prove it to others
Provet it to yourself
Prove to others that you’re proving it to yourself
Do what you say you will do.

Final Thoughts

When great leaders say that people come first, they mean it.  You can’t fake your love and care of the people in your organization.  When you believe in your purpose and your people, you will be filled with a tremendous amount of energy that creates an infectious buzz that vibrates between people and throughout the building.  That energy generates new ideas, innovation, risk-taking and audaciousness.  But you have to be genuine and authentic and understand that every one of your actions are being watched and measured.   You have to prove it minute by minute, throughout your life and career and then nothing can stop you.


I gave my copy of The Radical LEAP to a Senior State Department Foreign Service Officer (F as a source of inspiration and renewal.  I’ve asked her to sign the book after she read it (as I did) and to circulate to another FSO that she wants to see succeed in their career and life.  Maybe this book will reach you someday, but if you don’t want to wait – rush out a buy a copy today!

Chris Cortese

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