O = A + I x (WE). What is the value of O?


Yesterday I posted a leadership equation, inviting readers to guess at its meaning. The equation is:
O = A + I x (WE). Obscure, I know. The only original hint I gave is that it related to life and leadership. I began tweeting about it, offering a couple of hints. First I disclosed that the value of I is Initiative. Early this morning I gave away almost the entire equation, except for O. I tweeted the following: “O = Attitude + Initiative x (Work Ethic). What is the value of O?”

What indeed? In the context of life in general and leadership in particular, attitude and initiative combine as a powerful collaborative elixir. Their synthesis produces a singularly potent work ethic, which in turn multiplies the impact of the operands, attitude and initiative, to produce…drum roll…wait for it….it’s almost here….


Thus, Opportunity = Attitude + Initiative x (Work Ethic).

Think about it. Many people have a sense of entitlement. They expect opportunities to be handed to them on a silver platter.

Got a degree? Wow! Here’s a job! Earned that certificate of subject matter mastery? Oh please, please, let us hire you! Have years of experience in a line of work? When we stop falling over ourselves to get to you, please do sign the dotted line and tell us your salary and benefit requirements.

It simply doesn’t work that way. Opportunities are created through a combination of attitude and initiative, multiplied by a strong work ethic. Every time. The quickest path to killing opportunity is to portray a sense of entitlement.

This is true in business, in the church, and pretty much in any endeavor you might wish to pursue. It is especially true in leadership. Your attitude, your initiative, and your work ethic are contagious. For good or for bad. They combine, as in the equation, either to generate opportunity for yourself, your team, and your organization, or to kill it. As leader, you set the tone. Question is, what will be the character and result of that tone?

The answer to this question will determine the kind and caliber of opportunities you lead your team to encounter moving forward.


2 thoughts on “O = A + I x (WE). What is the value of O?

  1. Few scattered thoughts:
    **Interesting way to phrase it, but it is true.
    **I know plenty of people who have a good attitude and initiative but lack a strong work ethic.
    **I think some opportunities come along based on past experience.
    **I would say that another way to phrase initiative would be action. At least for me, opportunities are sometimes lost because a lack of action. You can have the best attitude and work ethic, but without action everything else is cancelled out.

  2. I appreciate the feedback. You share some good thoughts. The experience comment was self-reflective. In children’s ministry, I have many years of experience. However, no one has ever hunted me down on account of it. I have had to put myself out there. Also, when candidating for full time positions, most places liked that I had education and background, but they said I did not have the kind of experience they sought. During that season I learned I did not desire to jump through the hoops they required. It is liberating. I’m putting myself out there in a different way now. Yet the principles remain valid. Thank you for the comment!

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