What makes an exponential leader? A leader that is able to exponentially impact the organisation, the fabric of society and the world of meaning with and through performance with results that are ten times more than others (see Exponential Organisations, Diversion Books, 2014).

Herein lies a problem. “The problem with success is that when you succeed, when you develop a track record of success and you develop a reputation— people will begin to assume that you know what you’re talking about and have insightful things to say about everything. But it is not true. You do not know and can’t say insightful things about everything. And worse still, as people assume that your track record of success gives you particular advantage of understanding, knowledge, and intelligence—they will stop questioning you and stop challenging you.” Dr L. Michael Hall.

When people stop questioning you and challenging you the move toward a massive transformation looses meaning and engagement.

A few days ago I had the unpleasant experience of personally following up on an outstanding invoice for the company as we were unsuccessful in obtaining payment. Services where rendered under an almost impossible timeline and the agreement was that the invoice will be settled within 24 hours from submission. Not withstanding the agreement and several attempts to connect with the MD of said company to bring the matter up to date, more than a 120 days later the invoice is still outstanding.

I was told to “take my tantrum out on someone else”…

This is why questioning and challenges are good for leaders, because, as you can see in this instance, it creates an environment for exponential leaders to practice accountability. Salim Ismael in Exponential Organisations refers to a SCALE model. The S is for activating Staff on Demand. I enjoy the idea and flourish in environments where I can be part of ad-hoc deployments. Further to that I find myself in a transformative community (the C in the SCALE Model) that brings creativity and growth in uncertainty, it is what we do, it is what we love doing.

And then – the order and control of systems, processes and agreements are not honoured as in this instance. This is how leaders successfully fail into their future.

When I challenged the MD to take a look at the professionalism of the matter and the possible brand reputation impact that this lack of vision towards resolving a minor matter has, I was told to “take my tantrum out on someone else”…

Is it failure that breeds contempt? Is it success that blinds obvious gaps? Is it ego that prevents growth?

Perhaps the challenge for each leader is to question the executive frames of behaviour that govern actions which could lead to brining the purpose of the organisation to it knees. We all face multi-faceted decisions daily and as an exponential leader and in my option your responsibility to take care of the ants on the ground is as important as achieving the vision of bottom-line growth.

What is outstanding on your desk that could have a massive impact on achieving your purpose that is currently standing in your way?