What is the key ingredient that separates world-class leaders from everyone else?  Or let me ask it another way: What made Jack Welch such a master CEO compared to the thousands of other CEO’s working in America during the 1990′s?  According to 3 researchers who study expert performance, the key ingredient is only one main thing; knowledge.  Not knowledge in the general sense, but as in Jack Welch’s case, a certain kind of knowledge – detailed, thorough, specialized knowledge about GE’s work and industries, and organizational leadership.  In other words, Jack Welch simply knew more than other CEO’s working in the 1990′s.

“The most important ingredient in any expert system is knowledge,” says the research team of Bruce G. Buchanan, Randall Davis, and Edward A. Feigenbaum.  In other words, according to the researchers, what makes a leader like, say, Andy Stanley brilliant, is not so much his general ‘gift of leadership’ or his charisma, but “the most important ingredient in [Andy Stanley’s] expert system is his knowledge.”  And again, as with Jack Welch- a certain kind of knowledge.  Not just general knowledge about Church leadership, but  a certain kind of knowledge: specialized, detailed knowledge about organizational and Church leadership.   According to these researchers, what makes Andy Stanley a world-class leader is his in-depth knowledge about his -Church leadership- work that he has cultivated over years, through both acquired learning (books etc.) and personal experience.  In other words, like Jack Welch, Andy Stanley simplyknows more than other leaders.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense:  As anyone who’s ever heard Andy Stanley speak at a leadership conference can testify – his knowledgeabout leadership is simply outstanding.  It includes everything from organizational systems, moral influence, team dynamics, playing to one’s strengths, open-handed leadership, his ability to communicate complex ideas easily, his understanding of how pride can undermine one’s own leadership potential, to understanding the role vision plays in an organization, working with his Church staff through leadership training materials, and empowering and unleashing other leaders in one’s organization.

So according to these researchers, all Andy Stanley’s superior leadership ability through the success of North Point Community Church, is the fruit of his knowledge:  Now where did he get all his knowledge you may ask? From his time at seminary, reading books, attending conferences, his research for the books he writes, developing staff training programs, his personal leadership experience, his nurturing relationships with remarkable leaders like his dad, Charles Stanley, and John C. Maxwell, and others.  All of these resources have allowed him to cultivate his extensive body of knowledge. And, according to the researchers, all this knowledge has enabled him to become a world-class leader.  The researchers summarized their finding by saying it appears that, “In the knowledge resides the power.”


So what knowledge have you accumulated today?  For remember: in your knowledge resides your power.



courtesy of Colvin.



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