From Karan’s Research, Read About One of the Top Seven Leadership Execution Tactics
Mastered by the World’s Most Successful Leaders

This is the second of a seven-part series where we will dive into the findings of our research regarding the most critical tactics that drive “differentiating value”, impact, influence and followership for any leadership effort. We will discuss what characteristics these successful leaders have, how these skills look in the real world workplace, as well as what value these skills provide for organizations whose leaders exemplify these tactics.

Each of these leadership tactics is based on a commissioned research study of 10K high-potential leaders conducted by Karan and her team at SDL. Through sharing our learnings via the Leading at the Top of Your Game Development Experience, we have worked with countless organizations to develop an army of individuals at all levels into leaders who are passionate, highly skilled, competitively advantaged, and execution-savvy.

Successful leaders constantly have to navigate the unwritten rules of their industry and the world of work, in order to affect change.

Leading with Courageous Agility is the ability to have the fortitude to take calculated risks to stand up for what you believe and do the right think, even when the consequences and/or future are unclear.

Individuals with a high acumen in Courageous Agility not only provide strength and leadership during times of adversity, but they also are comfortable maneuvering through complex political situations and attempting to influence all stakeholders, regardless of their status or level. Leaders that exhibit Courageous Agility also are able to effectively articulate and defend their viewpoints with conviction and clarity and take unpopular stands and actions as necessary.

What does “Leading with Courageous Agility” look like in individuals?  They . . .    

  • Articulate and defend viewpoints with courage, conviction, and clarity
  • Take unpopular stands and actions, as needed
  • Provide strength and leadership during challenging times
  • Maneuver through complex political situations effectively
  • Are comfortable attempting to influence all stakeholders, no matter their level

What is the “differentiating value” provided when demonstrating Courageous Agility? 

  • Followers feel more comfortable in moving forward during times of uncertainty
  • Better able to drive more healthy, growing, and dynamic organizations
  • Able to adapt or course correct quickly when faced with unexpected results
  • Able to effectively address resistance

What does Leading with Courageous Agility look like in the workplace?

Let’s look at a real world example of leading with Courageous Agility in action – the witnesses during the impeachment of President Donald Trump. No matter your political views, a great example of leaders exhibiting Courageous Agility involved the witnesses who testified in fact-finding hearings during the 2019 United States presidential impeachment process.

Under intense public scrutiny and at the risk of losing their jobs (which many did), multiple public officials and administration leaders agreed to testify before Congress on their knowledge regarding the events under question. All talked about how they chose to appear because, in their minds, it was the right thing to do to honor the country’s values and norms.

What value does Courageous Agility provide in the workplace?

Courageous Agility gives both leaders and organizations stability, particularly in times of change or adversity. These leaders not only understand the common responses people have to change – the victim, the neutral bystander, the critic, and the advocate – but they also know how to effectively communicate and involve each type of person in the discussion. 

This healthy debate effectively addresses any resistance and drives a more healthy, growing, and dynamic organization. The common result of these actions makes the followers feel more comfortable with change and moving forward during times of uncertainty.

Leading with Courageous Agility is only one of the seven leadership tactics that drive differentiating value.

The next article will discuss Leading with Strategic Decision-Making, which is making good decisions or leading a good decision-making process, based on top strategic goals and priorities.



“Leverage your sweet spot”

The ability to use your areas of expertise to “peek around corners” in order to spot trends, connect the dots, and identify new areas of opportunity that others miss.


“The unwritten rules are the toughest to read”

The ability to have the fortitude to take calculated risks to stand up for what you believe and do the right thing, even when the consequences and/or future is unclear.


“Oh, the games people play”

The ability to assess interpersonal dynamics and operate effectively in a variety of social situations.


“A hero’s gamble to break boundaries”

Building the organization by identifying new opportunities to develop or improve operations, products, or services.


“Separating real leaders from the wanabees”

The ability to be persistent and tenacious in ensuring goals are achieved.


“The power of swagger”

The ability to make clear and convincing oral and/or written presentations in order to influence and lead others.


“Cracking the code of the unknown”

The ability to make good decisions or lead a good decision making process, based on top strategic goals and priorities.

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If you’re interested in connecting with Karan regarding an upcoming need, you can email or schedule a call.


Shockingly Different Leadership is a human capital professional services consultancy that provides organizations access to the best consulting expertise in the areas of Talent Development, Organizational Development, and Human Resources – on an on-demand, project, or contract basis.


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