Independence Day

What it takes to form a nation:

Dedication to higher principles.
Clarification of identity.
Exploration of the unknown.
Devotion to a cause.
Consecration to learning.
Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.

And, what’s at stake:

Freedom from tyranny.
Independence of purpose, thought and action.
Discovery of new frontiers.
Becoming your own authority.

What it takes to develop the self:

Dedication to higher principles.
Clarification of identity.
Exploration of the unknown.
Devotion to a cause.
Consecration to learning.
Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.

And, what’s at stake:

Freedom from tyranny.
Independence of purpose, thought and action.
Discovery of new frontiers.
Becoming your own authority.


DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.

Why do you lead?

Yesterday, I shared the leadership profile I use with my clients including this essential question: Why do you lead?

If I know why you lead I will be better equipped to follow you. I will know how to follow you. And I want to know how because that will make me – and you – more successful.

Without a personal and compelling response to this question your followers will still follow but only transactionally. And this might be enough for some leaders.

But for those looking to create meaningful impact and sustainable change, transactional followership will never be sufficient.

It’s the heart of your followers that you have to capture and this comes, in part, from a clear and unequivocal statement of why you lead.

One approach you might consider:

In a follow-up to his book Start With Why, Simon Sinek created a workbook called Discover Your Why. I recently used his methodology – personal storytelling that reveals themes of contribution and impact – for the first time with a client.

It worked really well, bringing to the surface an array of values, behaviors, strengths and interactions that made sense to my client as the defining pattern of his life. Discovering that pattern allowed him to name with purpose and clarity the core of his leadership point of view.

Being able to do that means that he can now provide his team access to what matters most to him in a concrete and usable way. And he is further equipped to continue that conversation as circumstances change and new challenges emerge.

“What” and “how” are critical questions to answer well but for deep commitment to a cause worth fighting for, “why” is everything.


DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.

(Servant) Leadership Defined

This is not only a beautifully articulated definition of Servant Leadership but a clear and direct definition of “leadership,” period.

Servant Leadership is a smart leadership approach with a moral imperative to lead for the sake of others. Great leaders model behaviors that equip and inspire others toward individual and community greatness. They do not see their employees as tools, but as humans with dignity that they can empower to make a difference. Servant Leadership is designed to increase the self-determination, self-confidence, and self-sacrifice of everyone.
(Courtesy of the Servant Leadership Institute)

I struggle with the fact that the leadership we see in our organizations today is so far from the “servant” model that we have to classify it as a unique leadership approach. I also imagine that the idea of leadership as a “moral imperative” makes many leaders deeply uncomfortable.

As for me, I love that language. It’s a call to action to not allow a single drop of human potential to be wasted. That the leaders biggest and best responsibility is to ensure that his followers have every opportunity to maximize their strengths and deepen their learning in pursuit of a cause larger than themselves.

“Servant Leadership” is simply leadership in its best, most appropriate and most productive form.

How long is it going to take us to figure that out?