Rudolf Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, spoke to a large audienceof Six Sigma professionals on Wednesday, January 25 at the IQPC 7th Annual Six Sigma Summit in Miami, Florida. He gave the groupsound advice for developing leadership skills through six principles, each explained through stories from his own experiences. I’ve summarized a few key points from each principle.

Rudy’s Leadership Principles: The most important lessons in developing leadership.

One: The single most important thing that a leader must be is a person of conviction. To be a leader you have to have convictions, set of rules, ideas, know what you stand for, know what is important to you. There is nothing more powerful than ideas. Rudy’s role model for this principle was Ronald Reagan. He also spoke about Martin Luther King and Jack Welch as men of ideas.

Two: It is critically important to know how to use accountability, normally defined as what you require of other people. Rudy defined accountability further: the ability to take that goal, that vision, and make it quantifiable, or in other words, accountability is figuring out how to measure what you are trying to achieve. Rudy used two examples from NYC; Comstat, the program he instituted to reduce crime, and Jobstat, the program to decrease the number of people on welfare.

Three: Leaders must have courage, the courage to take risks. He asked this question: Does fear immobilize you or do you use it to become more productive and more effective? You should only let fear motivate you to prepare.

Four: To be a leader you have to understand ethics, both work ethics and moral ethics. “Work ethics means you cannot accomplish anything without preparation and hard work” and he noted this is especially true of the person in charge. You cannot get people to work hard if you don’t work hard. Also, you have to have a sense of right and wrong and you have to deliver it to your organization. Messages of ethics have to be given from the top.

Five: Surround yourself with very effective people. Leadership is a team sport. Biggest illusion that happens sometimes with leaders is that they begin to believe that it is all about them. It’s not, it’s just the opposite. If they can identify their weaknesses and surround themselves with other people to help, they’ll be successful. A leader has to be self-analytical.

Six: Have a positive attitude. A leader must be an optimist. Example of optimists: Ronald Reagan, Dr. King, and Winston Churchill. If you can’t see your organization improved, or your vision realized, how can you expect to get it there? You have got to envision success. He said this principle has worked for him in every situation except for one, playing golf.

The standing ovation proved that the audience enjoyed his words. I was proud to stand and show my thanks to Rudy, not only for his lessons on leadership but for his inspiration. He truly embodies the leadership principles he taught.

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