How to Lead Like an Xceptionalist

DO! The Pursuit of Xceptional Execution

Kevin Kelly and I connected recently to talk about his latest book, DO! The Pursuit of Xceptional Execution.  Kevin is an internationally acclaimed leadership and motivational speaker and best selling author.

A fellow pragmatist, Kevin is passionate about bridging the gap between theory and execution.  For this book he interviewed entrepreneurs from around the world who are the leaders of some of the most compelling global brands and companies, ranging from one to 3,000 employees, with turnovers from $100,000 to $130 million.

He calls these people Xceptionalists. Here is an article from Kevin about what that means and how you can bring this notion of being an Xceptionalist to your everyday leadership.

Xceptional execution is about taking a relatively simple idea from brainstorm to breakout hit. Groundbreaking research conducted by Columbia University’s Amar Bhidé in 2000, titled “The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses,” reinforced the term’s significance, revealing that 88% of “breakthrough companies” were the result of “xceptional execution of an ordinary idea,” according to their owners. Only 12% were the result of new inventions.

You don’t have to be Bezos or Branson, Einstein or Jobs. Your product doesn’t have to be a Bentley, Hublot, or a Stradivarius. And your product or service doesn’t have to be a Dropbox, a Flickr, or a Hulu.

“You must simply find an ordinary idea, and implement that idea with xceptional execution.  Xceptional execution brings results.”  Kevin Kelly {tweet this}

To launch and lead a breakthrough company, you don’t need to invent the next light bulb. You don’t need $50,000 in the bank. You can start with what you have, exactly where you are.

All Ben Milne of www.dwolla.com had was a burning desire to solve an existing problem. His company was paying too much in credit card fees. The man changing the face of the financial world had no prior background in the industry before he began in 2009. Four years later, Forbes magazine listed Ben as one of the 12 most disruptive names in business for his groundbreaking idea for helping customers process a transaction in a simpler way.

Four Argentinian business people wanted to make their country a technology hub during a financial crisis when the peso was devalued, even though they had no business plan, the country had no history in technology, and they had only $5000 in capital. Those four entrepreneurs started www.globant.com – now a global company with 3000 employees and revenues of $129m.

Agnes McCourt, now 72, created Unislim, Ireland’s biggest slimming organization. It is now over forty years in existence and continues to grow and evolve even though she admitted in her first class that she hadn’t got a clue about how to lose weight.

These are not isolated examples. 40% of Inc. 500 founders that were interviewed in Amar Bhide’s book had no past experience of working in the industry they went on to dominate. A survey of Inc. 500 entrepreneurs found 60% didn’t create a business plan before launching their companies.

So what does it take to lead like an Xceptionalist?  Here are the top 3 things you will need:

1.   Strong Self Awareness

This allows you to understand and move through your fears, that allows you to see, then solve problems; that allows you to connect with the best leadership advice on the planet your intuition and trust me, you can expect a massive ROI – a return on intuition and more.

2.  Understanding Attention is the Scarcest, Most Powerful Drug in the World.

In an attention deficit society, the delivery of quality attention to your customers and co-workers should be at the forefront of your strategy.

3.  Courage Explore Your Own Brilliant Ideas

Being an Xceptionalist is about giving yourself permission to explore the brilliant ideas your mind generates every day. Then, it’s about the Xceptional execution of that ordinary idea.

“If you truly want to Think Big; DO! will do it for you! Success will no longer be the exclusive domain of visionaries, entrepreneurs with fully loaded business plans and well financed startups. It can be anyone’s game –including yours. The huge barrier to entry is xceptional execution and Do highlights the DNA and strategies behind some of the brightest startups on the planet.”  Tom Peters

Now we would love to hear from you:  What idea do you have that could be your spark to leading like an Xceptionalist?


Enter A Comment

josh   |   10 November 2013   |   Reply

Execution really is everything.

Susan Mazza   |   13 November 2013   |   Reply

So true Josh! Even a mediocre idea executed well is worth more than a million great ideas never executed.