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Leaders Inspire Integrity by Being Consistent Themselves

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right.

“Can do, sir!” That statement was music to my ears as a young Army Lieutenant. When one of our non-commissioned officers responded with “Can do” my day was about to get better. The mission, the task, the conversation was going to happen – and happen without my need for oversight. Once I left the military, that can-do attitude became harder to find. More often than not, the answer was not “can do” but something less committed. Something that always left that person some wiggle room if they failed. It usually was some statement that set them up for an excuse for failure later.

In every profession, in every company there are some people who always seem to make things happen and others that don’t. Some sheriffs or police chiefs build cohesive teams with limited budgets and some don’t. Some city managers find funds for training city personnel and some don’t. Some sales managers always find new customers to help them make this year’s higher quotas and some don’t. But why? Is it skill? Or is it attitude?

A Leader of Character doesn’t allow their brain to focus on the obstacles that make accomplishing the mission difficult. A Leader of Character knows the obstacles are present and still says, “Can do.” The obstacles are real, but they are not used to begin a pattern of CYA thinking. I have sat in many meetings and when an obstacle is identified, there are people in the room who begin to prepare their narrative for failure. Before solutions are even discussed, some people are preparing their excuses:

● “We may not have the manpower for this.”

● “Last time the city manager said ‘No.’”

● “Company X moved out of our region after they set up these quotas.”

These comments may be accurate, but they are not helpful. The mission doesn’t change because of the circumstances we face. The only thing that needs to change is the attitude.

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right.

In the military units, the law enforcement agencies and the sales teams where Leaders of Character say, “Can do!” a few things happen:

  1. Innovation: People find new ways to solve old problems in difficult circumstances.

  2. Progress: Tasks get finished and missions get accomplished.

  3. Positivity: The “can do” attitude becomes the norm within the organization

Obstacles are opportunities to innovate, make progress, and build a positive attitude in ourselves and within our teams. It takes Leaders of Character saying “Can do” to set that example. The question is, “What type of leaders are we?”

Dig Deep Questions:

● What is your first reaction when an obstacle emerges?

● How can you set an example when someone else focuses on those obstacles?


Taking responsibility and exercising Positivity is a lifelong journey for not only you, but your team. We want to partner with you as you make Positivity part of your organizational culture. When it comes to remembering the definition of Positivity, let us help to make it easy to keep it visible.

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