Tuesday, April 10, 2012

TED Talk Tuesday: Leading with Lollipops

Do you consider yourself a leader?
Chances are that you are, but are uncomfortable admitting it.

Drew Dudley, founder of Nuance Leadership Development Services, believes that this is because we've made the concept of leadership something monumental and unattainable; we've made it about changing the world, and reserved it for the extraordinary.

He says in his concise and funny 6-minute talk, "We spend so much time celebrating amazing things that hardly anybody can do, that we've convinced ourselves those are the only things worth celebrating.  And we start to devalue the things that we can do everyday.  We start to take moments where we truly are a leader and we don't let ourselves take credit for it and we don't let ourselves feel good about it."

He tells an incredibly funny story about how the simple act of giving a girl a lollipop changed her life immeasurably (you really have to watch his talk to hear the story), and the crazy part was that if she never told him about the impact he made on her life, he would't have even remembered the moment.

What a mind-blowing thought:  maybe the biggest impact you've ever had on someone else's life, was a moment that you don't even remember.

Drew's talk underscores the truth that we are THAT powerful.  Our actions can matter THAT much to others.  If we continue to make leadership this big thing reserved for those extraordinary people that are going to "change the world," we give ourselves an excuse not to expect it from ourselves and each other.

Drew's call to action is powerful, but most significant to me is that it's completely attainable.  He challenges us to get over our fear of how powerful we can be in each others' lives.   We need to redefine leadership about lollipop moments, about how many we create, how many we acknowledge, how many we pay forward and how many we say thank you for.

Have you had a lollipop moment?   
Have you told that person the impact they've had on your life?
What's stopping you?  


  1. I loved Drew's talk because I think that it is true that this is something that is often overlooked and dismissed. I can think of many lollipop moments where people have had a really positive impact that they are unlikely to even be aware of.
    I'm trying to get better at thanking people for these things as and when they happen, but it's something I still feel very self-conscious about.

    1. I completely understand how you feel. I don't know why it's often so hard for me to thank people who have genuinely impacted my life, but I'm working on it too.