Moses Leadership: The Key to Great Business Success

— October 1, 2018

Moses Leadership: The Key to Great Business Success

I used to work with a guy we called Nemo because he served on a nuclear submarine for many years during the Cold War. We worked together in a tech firm that was developing a new family of products from conductive polymers.

I was in quality assurance and production, he was a mechanical engineer. Things get pretty crazy when you’re developing products that have never been done before and trying to create the equipment to manufacture them repeatably, reliably, and cost effectively. As we dealt with one crisis after another, he would often say: Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Management is not leadership

It made me think a lot about leadership: the lack of it and the dire need for leadership. This is especially true in business, whether you’re a solopreneur or head up a large company. Unfortunately, in recent generations we have mistakenly equated managers with leaders.

Managers figure out a way to boost sales by 5 percent next year. Leaders inspire us to believe we can double sales next year and then we hammer away at the challenge with all our hearts and minds.

Some call this Moses Leadership, after the biblical character who led Israel out of Egypt, across the Red Sea and (almost) into the Promised Land. In case you don’t know the story, Moses himself didn’t live quite long enough to finally come to rest in the Promised Land. That was left to his successor, Joshua.

Standing at water’s edge

Moses Leaders have a big vision or tackle a huge challenge. They believe it, or the necessity of it, wholeheartedly and they inspire their followers to see its success as possible, perhaps even inevitable. Consider a leader like General Eisenhower, who led the D-Day invasion. It’s interesting to note that as those young soldiers gathered at the edge of the English Channel facing an unknown future in France their situation was very similar to the Jews standing at the edge of the Red Sea waters.

If you’ll allow me one more biblical reference, let me give you Proverbs 29:18, which I believe relates to leadership: Without a vision, the people perish.

Do you have a Moses vision for your company or your project? If you don’t, you and your team will devolve into little more than time-clock punchers.

Does your vision measure up?

Are you satisfying that thirst for yourself? For others?

This is why ambitious people want to work for characters like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk (despite his peculiarities), Steve Jobs, and others. And it’s why we are ready to read every word that is written about them and their projects; we thirst for leadership that casts a big vision.

Are you satisfying that thirst for yourself? For others?

If not, then it’s time for you to either follow or get out of the way.

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Image: Parting the Red Sea by amboo who?, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

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Author: Ray Manley

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