The Leadership Impact Equation

Leadership refers to the ability of an individual or an organization to guide individuals, teams, or organisations toward the fulfilment of goals and objectives (CFI,2020). There are many traits that leaders have, or should have to help maximise efficiency and achieve strategic and organisational goals. Instead of going through these traits, I am going to highlight the most important one for me and the one I have adopted and will continue to adopt in future employment.

What is the ‘Leadership Impact Equation’?

The leadership impact equation is derived from Chris Hirst’s book ‘No Bullsh*t Leadership’. The equation goes like:

(Motivation+Objectives+Strategy+Team+Values) x (Action)

I prefer to remember it as the ‘MOSTV’ equation. The point of the equation will soon become clear and there will be the use of some simple maths needed. In the formula above, the activities included in the left side of the brackets are those that are typically important to being a good leader. Now, if we pretend that we can quantify all of these attributes, so for instance; Motivation is 10, Objectives is 7, Strategy is 5, Team is 7 and Values is 4, the equation will look something like this:

(10+7+5+7+4) x (Action)

Now, lets pretend we can quantify action. This is the point where most leaders fail, because in this equation, action is the most important part. For instance, you can have all the motivation, objectives, startegy, team and values (equation above) in the workplace but without action, the equation will always equal to 0.

(10+7+5+7+4) x (0) = 0

(10+7+5+7+4) x (1) = 33

(10+7+5+7+4) x (2) = 66

The point trying to be illustrated in this is; without action (i.e. action=0), you can have all the strategy, clarity, team training sessions and spreadsheets as you want, but the total net impact as a leader will always be 0, and the more action you put in (i.e. some action=1, a lot of action=2 and so on) the better the results you’re going to get.

Applying this to real world has been done before in many SMEs and large corporations, one of which being in 1993 when Lou Gerstner took over IBM in the depths of its despair. When Gerstner took over the company, he instantly made world news in business for stating that the last thing IBM needed right then was a new strategy. But after closer inspection, it became apparent that he did not mean that IBM didn’t need a new strategy, but that IBM didn’t need anymore strategies. The problem the company was facing instead lay not with their ability to develop great strategies, but in their ability to take action on one. Gerstner instead, chose to take action and is the reason why IBM is still here today and is in the S&P 500.

Key Takeaway

I hope by now the reason for the equation makes sense and that you can take this away and apply to any aspect of leadership within your life. The main takeaway from this equation is that without ‘Action’, (i.e. action=0) a leader simply cannot lead. Instead, you will end up creating attributes on the left hand side of the equation and will ultimately end up with confusion between employees and the overall organisations goals.



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Liam Kerry

Liam Kerry

MSc Operations and Logistics Management Student at UEA BSc Business Management Graduate