The Three Simple Words That Ignite Leadership


At its core, isn’t this what leadership is about?T

o make something that is not yet so – so?

It sounds so simple.  But it’s not easy.

To “make it so” takes:

  • Passion

  • Vision

  • Initiative

  • Influence

  • Courage

  • Strategy

  • Plans

  • Effort




And even when you take all these steps, there’s still no guarantee that your “so” will turn out just so.I’ve had the chance to work with hundreds of leaders in my career, to watch and learn how they ‘make it so’.

This past week, I observed a leader a little closer to home:  my nine-year old daughter, Miranda.

In stepping into leadership, I saw how Miranda followed the process of turning her vision into reality and making it so.

Passion and Vision: What do you want?

Miranda just finished the third grade this past week.

She loves her 3rd Grade Teacher, Mrs. Cora.

Over the course of the year, after persistent questioning, Miranda found out when Mrs. Cora’s birthday was.

Miranda had a vision: to celebrate, surprise, and delight  Mrs. Cora.

Miranda had this idea that when Mrs. Cora walked in to her classroom on her birthday morning to prep for the day ahead, the classroom would be covered in streamers, balloons, and signs wishing her happy birthday.

Initiative and Influence:  How do you get stakeholders on board?Miranda realized she couldn’t do all the work herself.  It’d also make the surprise a lot more fun, too.  She told the rest of her class about her idea, and asked them to keep it secret.  Using a page from Tom Sawyer’s playbook, Miranda got them excited to help with the work to decorate the room.Next, Miranda talked to me and her Mom about providing the supplies (streamers, balloons, etc.) needed.  For a cause like this, how could we say no?

Courage and Strategy:  What’s at risk to forge ahead? Miranda now faced her first big obstacle.  The school has a rule: students aren’t allowed into the building before school starts at 8:45 am. To surprise Mrs. Cora before she arrives (at 8:00 am) Miranda would need a solution outside of the status quo.On her own, Miranda set up a meeting with the school principal.   She explained her birthday decoration project, and explained her needs.  The principal bent the rules so that Miranda and her friends could show up at 7:30 am on Monday and get to work.

Plans and Effort: How much are you willing to work for it?  It’s one thing to have an idea of something you’d like to do.  It’s quite another thing to do it.  The best laid plans always look great – on paper.  When things actually play out, the territory rarely looks like the map.

For Miranda and her classmates to pull this off, they’d actually have to show up to school an entire hour early.  Not the easiest thing for a group of third graders to do.

Out of fifteen people who said they were going to show up, only four did.Rather than spend their time complaining about those who didn’t show, these four got to work. They made it so.Here’s the fruit of their labors:

(Miranda’s the one on the far left.)

There’s a reason it’s called the ‘burden’ of leadership.  Leadership comes with the responsibility of knowing that if you want to make something happen, you have to make it so.

However, with this responsibility comes an incredible opportunity.  By stepping up to ‘make it so’, you ignite the spark of possibility.

You have the chance to turn your dream into reality.How else do  you step up and ‘make it so’?  Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

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