Why You Should Lead People into SPACE

by Andy Wood on June 5, 2013

in Enlarging Your Capacity, Five LV Laws, Leadership, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase, Since You Asked


Interesting question came up yesterday.  If leaders are people who are influencing others to go somewhere or move in a certain direction, where should we be leading them to go?

Paul had a simple answer to that:  “Follow me as I follow Christ,” he said (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Okay, so, my answer wasn’t so spiritual. But I think it works, both for presidents and pastors, middle managers and mentors.

Where should we be leading people?

To space.

Hey, it works for Richard Branson.

Actually I use S.P.A.C.E. as an acronym for five directions we should all be pursuing.  Tell me what you think:

1. Sustainability

I guess I should have sounded the buzzword horn before I mentioned this one.  Everybody’s talking about sustainability these days, and for good reasons. What often gets lost in that mix, of course, is that the idea is as old as the Garden of Eden.

Leadership works the same way, regardless of the level or realm of your influence. Leaders should be inspiring people to take their organizations and themselves to places where the results of their productivity keep them going for another day, season, or year.

Here’s the real test of sustainability and leadership:  Would your organization continue to move forward without you leading it? Or would the people you mentor keep pressing forward if you weren’t pressing them?

We can’t build sustainable companies until we empower and inspire people to sustain themselves. Which leads to…

2. Personal growth and development.

If you’re not inspiring people to be better people, accountants to be better accountants, Christ followers to be stronger Christ followers, or even devil’s advocates to be better “devils,” you’re not leading very well. I don’t care who you are or who you work for, today’s experts, left standing still, become tomorrow’s incompetents. There is a certain amount of training and development you need every year just to tread water.

Personal development means more than skills, however.  It also includes character development, relationship development, and spiritual/emotional maturity as well. Your task as a leader is to help raise up stronger, wiser, more mature individuals because they followed your influence.  Of course, that means that you, too, must be completely devoted to your own growth.  Nobody will be more committed to your development than you are.  This leads to…

3. Authenticity.

By their own authenticity, leaders should be inspiring people in their realm of influence to be genuine, transparent, and accountable. That can only happen when you model genuineness, transparency and accountability yourself.

Want to know if you’re authentic?  When was the last time you found the need to apologize because you messed up somehow? When was the last time someone in your organization or influence asked you a humbling question and you risked embarrassment by telling them the truth?

Authentic leaders build trust among their constituents.  But authenticity doesn’t stop with you.  Leaders must also motivate in others a character of authenticity as well.

Want to know if you have a culture of authenticity?  How free are your employees or team members to fail and admit it? How free are they to speak against your latest clever idea?  By creating a culture of authenticity and trust, you have the opportunity not only to gain the trust of organization members, but also to gain the trust of the public. And I can over-stress the value and need for that.

4. Collaboration.

Authenticity is one thing.  Being an authentic jerk or a solo pilot is another.  Effective leaders harness the power of synergy to multiply the talent, passion, and perspectives of others.  Yes, it takes longer to establish this than it does just to do it yourself. But it’s well worth the difference.

Want to create a culture of collaboration?  You can start by opening your door and your mind to partnerships, the ideas of others, and true teamwork.  Collaboration puts the “shared” into “shared vision.” When you motivate people to step up and deliver their creative ideas and you reward them for doing so, something extraordinary can happen.

Oh, and here’s a crazy idea.  If you know of an individual or team that would use your help, why not offer to help them, not as “the boss,” but as a co-contributor?  There really is energy in synergy, but synergy is rarely forged without thoughtful leadership and shared vision.

5. Excellence.

Leaders should be inspiring people to find an extra step, reach a higher target, discover a better solution, or deliver greater satisfaction than your past performance or your current competition. The coaches call this “playing to the standard.”

Excellence is your ultimate destination, but it’s also a moving target. As I mentioned before, the mediocre today would have been considered wildly successful a few years ago. So the big challenge for leaders is to forecast – what does the excellence of tomorrow look like?

Try getting those previous four factors firing on all cylinders, and the new standard of excellence, as well as the pathway to it, should appear.


Think about the last person you looked at as an exceptional leader. Wouldn’t you agree he/she inspired you to reach for “the final frontier” – for SPACE?

Didn’t they lead you to or your organization to be effective whether they were around or not?

Didn’t they challenge you to grow, both personally and professionally?

Weren’t they real, honest, and transparent?

Didn’t they work – and play – well with others?

Didn’t they inspire you to personal and corporate excellenc?

You can be that kind of leader as well. Play to the standard. The SPACE standard. Then invite others to join you.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Martha Orlando June 6, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Perfect advice, Andy! May all the leaders who read this become “spaced-out”! 🙂
Blessings to you, and thanks for visiting my post. I responded!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..Taking Center Stage

Ross June 7, 2014 at 9:40 am

Great Post!

Great point about “sustainabilty”! A buzz word as old as creation itself!

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