Leadership Notes #66 – Extreme Leadership

(This series of “notes” first appeared in the YahooGroup “VenturingList” and are written by Michael Brown. I thought that they were worth sharing with the Commissioner Corps.)

Steve Farber (http://www.stevefarber.com/) puts forth the idea of “Extreme Leadership”. This concept of leadership is put forth in his recent book “The Radical Leap Re-Energized” (2011) which is an expansion and revitalization of his first two books “The Radical Leap” (2004) and “The Radical Edge” (2006). These works introduce the concepts in the form of the “business parable”, which presents them in a fictional story. Radical Leap focuses on introducing his concept of leadership, while the Radical Edge is about personal clarity and guidelines for changing the world. So we’ll be focusing on Radical Leap.

Extreme Leadership is made up of some simple concepts. First off is the idea of the “Oh, sh*t moment” (abbreviated OS!M). This is when the leader is doing or about to do something that has an extraordinary effect on themselves and those they lead. It may be that they are taking a chance, opening themselves up, or the like.

The core of Extreme Leadership is LEAP, which stands for:
• Cultivate Love
• Generate Energy
• Inspire Audacity
• Provide Proof

What do these mean?

“Cultivate love” is about the ultimate motivation of the Extreme Leader. They need to love someone or something: this could be a cause, a principle, the people they work with, the customers, the future they can create with others, the business or organization. If the leader doesn’t have this love, then why take a risk or do what is needed to change the world?

The Extreme Leader is a “Generator of Energy”. They are a powerful force for action, progression, of inspiring others to bring out their best. And what generates that energy are those things they love: cause, principles, the compelling vision.

The Extreme Leader should also be “inspiring audacity”, which is a bold and blatant disregard for normal constraints in order to change the world for the better. Sometimes we call this “think outside the box”, but keep in mind that not only does the EL do this, but they inspire others to do it as well.

And the Extreme Leader “provides proof” that they are an Extreme Leader. Walk the Talk. DWYSYWD: Do What You Say You Will Do.

An interesting quote the author gives about Extreme Leadership: “Do What You Love in Service of People who Love What You Do”. I thought that was an interesting quote. It almost sounds servant leadershipy. Almost like it’s a different way of looking at the concept.

Here is a LONG video by Farber on Extreme Leadership: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_Tq3PplAoc

And here Farber interviewed about this new edition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OClewwZTKQ8

Steve Farber has another leadership work: “Greater Than Yourself” (2009). Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to read over the work. But again, I found what I read about it to be very interesting and a possible different take on servant leadership.

The aim of this work is to put forth what Farber feels is the timeless principle of true leadership: of helping others achieve their full potential. (hmmm, which is the measurement of the success of a servant leader!). For him, the goal of a genuine leader is to help others, teammates, employees, and colleagues, become more capable, confident, and accomplished than they are themselves. (again, that’s the measure of the servant leader). As before, this work is told as a parable, Farber reveals the three keys to achieving this: Expand Yourself, Give Yourself, and Replicate Yourself. The work aims to bring what those of us in the non-business world follows (or should follow) into the business world. But I think it still has application in the non-business world, with too many wanting to copy what is done in the business world.

Some videos on this work. A preview of Farber’s keynote address on this book: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2DkzOc8RwI. And an ad for the book which focuses on the “GTY Project” done with “Up with People”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUwuHwLiDaI

So check out these 2 books. His website has further resources.