Common Sense Leadership

Being on vacation gives a lot of time for personal reflection – it’s rare to be alone with your thoughts for any great time, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to relax and reflect.

I say alone – for me that includes my amazing Wife and our four children, who never fail to provide some reality, perspective and more importantly common sense.
Harriet Beecher Stowe is attributed with saying “Common Sense is seeing things as they are; and doing things as they ought to be” and I wonder if that perspective was what allowed her to be so influential.

In an increasingly politically correct, sound-bite enabled, acronym filled, short attention span world I’ve noticed that presenters often talk in a way that actually makes no sense. People clap and provide positive feedback, but an hour afterwards would be hard pushed to remember much of the content.

But I think this is about to change.

In the last few months I’ve noticed that those who inspire me are avoiding the buzzwords and hyperbole in favour of talking common sense. It’s more than simply placing things in context, and being direct – it’s avoiding being swept up in the mainstream of industry dialog. People who do this are causing me to stop and say “Of course! How did I miss that?”

I’m not alone – a quick survey of my friends and colleagues showed that leaders who talk this way are more likely to have their statements repeated – which means their messages are sinking in.

Common sense can also come from perspective. The person with the best perspective on the planet surely has to be Chris HadfieldIf you’re not following him on Twitter, you should be. Inspiration, common sense and wonder all in one place.
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