The Five Practices: The Key Is in the DOING! (Not the KNOWING)

The Key Is in the DOING! (Not the KNOWING)

Craig Haptonstall

Like me, you may have heard any one of the following comments:

"Our group is too intelligent for this!"...or

"The Leadership Challenge isn't complex enough for our group."...or

"I'm searching for an application at the Senior Executive Level, and this won't work for that."

Sometimes when sharing The Leadership Challenge with others, I hear responses like these. Essentially, the confusion begins with the mistaken perception that understanding something is equivalent to being able to do something. I agree and believe that the model is simple. I also I see this as a HUGE advantage. This simplicity allows leaders at every level of an organization to understand what TLC is all about—which is essential to building organizational consistency. However, as we have come to understand, leadership is behavior, and it is perceived in the eyes of our various constituencies.

Because we know about The Five Practices, or the Ten Commitments, or the 30 behaviors (which by itself would be a nice accomplishment), it does not mean that we can actually do anything. To be able to do something about or with this knowledge, we have to be able to apply the information in a very practical way, in a behavioral context.

By comparison, I can understand how one snow skies. I get the basic requirements and believe I can identify the necessary equipment. I also can explain the force of gravity on the mountainside, combined with the resistance of light or heavy snow. None of this knowledge translates into an ability to ski. (As will potentially painfully clear the moment an attempt is made to gracefully exit the ski lift for the first time.)

Yes, The Leadership Challenge model is simple—a simple, clear, evidence—based strategy to achieve unfulfilled potential. But 'simple' does not by any means mean easy!

The next time you hear "this is too simplistic for our group," what you really may be hearing is an open invitation for someone to demonstrate The Five Practices behaviors that are proven to have a positive impact and influence on the experience of others! So, how do you demonstrate this behavior?

Craig Haptonstall is president and CEO of Leadership Mechanics LLC and a Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge®. An experienced and results—oriented speaker and coach whose corporate career has included positions with Southwest Airlines and The Tom Peters Company, he can be reached at



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