INsight/ What Matters Most

Ubud, 5 April 2017 — When you like an insight you have just read, what is the most important thing you can do? Find out what a business manager did to grow his leadership.

As we face a daily risk of overwhelm from the amount of information that is coming at us, it is a relief to know that what we learn from studying information only contributes 10% to our leadership growth. So it is fine to turn your attention off your social media regularly and decide to work with a lesser amount of information.

‘Work with’ is the key to success.

The biggest contribution to your leadership growth—70%—comes from doing challenging assignments on the road to achieve your goals. In other words, your success comes for the most part from taking action and learning by doing.

The remaining 20% is also very important. It is like the glue that allows a new kite to fly into the sky, so it doesn’t apart when it catches the wind. This 20% contribution comes from asking and receiving feedback from the people in your network, through coaching and mentoring.

The 70-20-10 rule emerged from research done by the Center for Creative Leadership among leaders in various regions of the world. I recommend that you use it, as the executives, managers and emerging leaders I work with are finding it helpful and effective.

For example, we can learn from one of the managers who works with me and is putting this rule to good use in his business. I noticed how Moses works intensively with the leadership topic he reads every week in this blog. He applies the insight he gets to his leadership practice in a systematic manner, in three steps:

First, he looks where he can expand his self-awareness and knowledge on the topic (10%).

Second, he reviews his recent leadership experiences about the topic, and determines what he will put into practice (70%).

Third, he emails me to share what he has done, and finishes with a well-considered question asking for feedback how he can practice it better (20%).

By doing this weekly, Moses keeps on making progress in his business as his leadership skills grow. The topic he is currently working on is how to speak the language of his audience in an effective way, so that he can multiply his positive impact at work. Learning that skill is part of the Work In All Colors program that I offer (and for which a new online training will start soon.)

As Moses demonstrates, all it takes to go from absorbing a lot of information to actually improving your skills, is to focus on an insight, take action to put it in practice, and ask feedback to do it better. It is a practical and effective way to grow your leadership.

Taking Moses' example, why not take a few minutes now to choose a leadership insight on this blog that you feel strongly about and for which you want to improve your skills. You can make a start by taking three steps like Moses did. 

From my side, I will look forward to your email sharing what you have practiced, and finishing with a leadership question. After answering it, I look forward to support you in your leadership journey and to learn about your own practice, as I have done from the example I mentioned.

Some of you will remember the Personal Power Page about Attracting Achievement (see below). I wrote there that by taking action on an idea that attracts you, you are paying respect to that idea. And the best time to do it is always... now.

What will move you forward to better results in your leadership development is to be selective about the information you receive, to focus on taking action for an insight that you like, and then to get feedback as you practice it.

You can send your email to coachwouter (at)

By taking action on an idea that attracts you, you are paying respect to that idea.