Truths About Leadership

Leadership experts James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner released a book in 2010 outlining decades of research about the “10 laws of leadership.” The book, titled The Truth About Leadership: The No-Fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know (Jossey-Bass). The authors’ extensive research found deeply ingrained attitudes, belief in self and other truths common to true leaders.

SuccessFactorsInc.Net has nine success factors based on interviews and case studies conducted over the years with successful self-starters. We found a solid similarity between our success factors and the 10 truths uncovered by the research of Kouzes and Posner. Our development program focuses on mindsets around nine key competencies, or success factors. We found that the Big Three Success Factors, Vision, Passion and Perseverance, align closely with the Kouzes and Posner laws of leadership.


Kouzes and Posner say that visionary leaders are set apart by their focus on the future. At Success FactorsInc.Net, we’ve learned that vision gives you direction and intention. Or as Kouzes and Posner say, vision offers energy toward completing a roadmap. Our experience following, interviewing and mentoring successful leaders has found the same: We know that people with Vision have a clear image of what they want to achieve in life and who they want to become. Kouzes and Posner say leaders should provide their followers with a future-focused vision and help understand and connect others’ visions for team success. We help spot people who have vision, help leaders and potential leaders refine and commit to their vision, and tie personal vision to the mission of your team and organization.


Passion arises from the kind of clarity that emerges when an individual time to focus on a vision for the future. According to Kouzes and Posner, leadership is an affair with the heart. Successful self-starters have passion and heart behind their vision that drives them toward making vision a reality. We’ve found people who are passionate about their vision and what they do are more self-motivated, driven and focused. And when you enjoy what you’re doing or the process of reaching a vision you feel passionate about, you have fewer setbacks and more steps forward. Individual employees consistently demonstrate passion for their work, largely by engaging in the organization’s values and vision. Managers with passion help spread enthusiasm to those who report to them. Executives with passion create the kind of powerful sense of purpose that generates excitement in the organization’s culture and individuals.


Passion can help leaders stay on track toward their vision, but occasional setbacks are inevitable. In our studies of successful self-starters, we’ve found consistently high levels of perseverance and focus through minor setbacks and major adversity. Those who persevere stay the course in working toward their vision. Kouzes and Posner recommend a “learning” mentality, so that leaders know it’s OK to learn from mistakes or challenges rather than feel defeated by them. The authors say the best leaders are inherently resilient. We find that individuals who have high levels of perseverance take the kinds of steps needed to deal with setbacks. Persevering managers model self-discipline when times get tough and guide others to help them cope with demanding situations. Executives with perseverance hold firm to the company’s missions during setbacks and lead others by maintaining a culture of resiliency.

Focus on Long-term Development

We encourage HR managers and organizational leaders to start thinking more about development and how to solidify the commitment, employee engagement and other benefits of professional development.

Our Fast Track to Success program requires commitment from those who participate, and commitment to developing and working toward a vision of personal and organizational success. It includes assessing success factors and completing activities that lead to action. Your organization can tailor the program to a format that works best for you: an intensive few days, onsite or online sessions, or a combination. We follow that with 12 weeks of coaching to solidify learning and ensure accountability.

Let us know how we can help your organization improve the professional development of key individuals for the benefit of the team, and especially the future. Learn more at or call us at 425-485-3221.