13. The Law of the Picture

The Law of the Picture: People Do What People See

This chapter starts out telling a few stories about some men who fought in World War II. They had good leaders and bad leaders. Moral of the story is that good leadership means leading by example, especially in a war setting; the officers led the charge.

Great leaders always seem to embody two seemingly disparate qualities. They are both highly visionary and highly practical. p. 158

Mission provides purpose- answering the question, Why? Vision provides a picture- answering the question, What? Strategy provides a plan- answering the question, How? p. 159

Leaders are paid to be dreamers. The higher you go in leadership, the more your work is about the future. At the same time, leaders are practical enough to know that vision without action achieves nothing. They make themselves responsible for helping their followers to take action. That can be difficult because followers often cannot envision the future as the leader does. They can’t picture what’s best for the team. They lose track of the big picture. Why? Because vision has a tendency to leak. p. 159

The temptation for many leaders is to merely communicate about the vision…The leader’s effective communication of the vision makes the picture cleare. But that is not enough. The leader must also live the vision. The leader’s effective modeling of the vision makes the picture come alive! Good leaders are always conscious of the fact that they are setting the exaxmple and others are going to do what they do, for better or worse. In general, the better the leaders’ actions, the better their people’s. p. 159

1. Followers are always watching what you do.

2. It’s easier to teach what’s right than to do what’s right.

“Nothing is more confusing that people who give good advice but set a bad example.” p. 161

“Leaders tell but never teach until they practice what they preach.” -Featherstone p. 162

3. We should work on changing ourselves before trying to improve others.

4. The most valuable gift a leader can give is being a good example.

Leadership is more caught than taught.

You cannot ask those who work for you to do something you’re unwilling to do yourself. -Rudy Giuliani p. 165


  1. I wrote down several values that are important to me including: integrity, leadership, purpose, passion, commitment, courage, faith, discipline, compassion, and service. Some things that I did that didn’t align with those values were: being late, not reading daily, not recruiting, not editing photos in a timely manner, not having urgency about personal discipline and development, and not exercising. Let’s just say there’s room for improvement.
  2. I have asked Mr. Swoope to observe my behaviors for a week to see how they line up with my values.
  3. Three things I wish my people did better: stronger sense of urgency, more self-development, better communication. I definitely have to model these behaviors first and share them with the team.

About Ernest Levert Jr.

Aspiring Servant-Leader studying engineering principles, financial stewardship, business management, and psychology fundamentals in order to cultivate passionate leadership, disseminate positive energy, uplift the community and ultimately create a brighter future for generations to come.
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