Leadership Takes GUTSS

By Featured Speaker Wally Adamchik

Leadership can be one of the most rewarding things a person experiences in their life. The exhilaration of knowing you orchestrated a team that came together and accomplished some worthy objective. Leadership can also be one of the most frustrating experiences in life when the objective is not met or when people on your team let you down. Ultimately, it takes guts to step into that position of leadership. Apply these GUTSS principles and your likelihood of leading successfully goes up dramatically. GUTSS stands for grace, urgency, tenacity, scoreboarding, and support.

Leadership Takes GUTSS


For the theologically inclined, Grace is being a forgiven child of God. Well, I am not talking about that kind of Grace, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. What I am really talking about is being gracious. Being a good person. Being a person of character. Respect for yourself and for others. This gets to the credibility you have with your people. Bottom line here is that if they don’t respect you, then they will not follow you. Notice I said respect, I did not say like. Leadership is not a popularity contest. Far too many people that are new to leadership positions make this mistake. I saw it in the Marines when a young Officer would try to be a buddy to his men. The young Officer mistakenly thought that if his people liked him they would follow him.


Leaders must have a bias for action. They understand that a fair decision executed in a timely and excellent manner is far superior to a perfect decision, poorly executed or never executed at all. The sense of urgency today is critical. The pace of change and the speed of business are faster than ever. To delay action is to cede the advantage


This trait causes people to persevere in the face of difficult situations. Going back to my belief that leadership is not a popularity contest, not all decisions will be well received. Resistance may be met. Failure may be present but good leaders persevere. They have a whatever it takes attitude instead of a “yeah, whatever” attitude.

Leaders must have personal tenacity to their own goals, vision and values. Tenacity to do what is right. This is not easy; the demands of life and of those around us seem to reward movement, in whatever direction, as long as there is movement. So many people today are too busy barely just surviving, who has time to thrive.


This is about more than keeping score. The old axiom, what gets measured gets done is true. Every business in the world conducts some sort of scorekeeping. Most associations do also. Keeping score is not enough. Once you know the score as the leader, you must publicize. This is scoreboarding. Sharing key performance metrics is one of the most effective ways to generate commitment in followers. This step enables them to better understand the overall picture and the part they play. I was talking with the CEO of one of the Top 100 Companies to Work for in America as listed by Fortune magazine. He told me that his people have a direct understanding between their performance and the bottom-line. He went on to say that this was not always the case and they needed to conduct training to help people understand what the scorecard was saying. But today, his people understand the score and they understand their impact on the score.


Leaders need support to accomplish the mission and support for the moments when they are having a bad day. Leaders need people to get the job done. This builds on grace and the respect a leader shows for people. But it goes beyond that too. Here we are talking about people responding and going beyond the norm to accomplish the mission. These empowered people truly support the plans the leader has articulated. Leadership can be lonely also. Leaders need someone to talk to.

By consciously applying the GUTSS principles you can enhance your effectiveness as a leader. Be Gracious to your self and to those around you. Have a sense of urgency and be purposeful as you lead. Be tenacious and don’t settle for less or get deterred. Know the score. And offer and accept support. When consciously do these things, you will be well on your way to greater success.

Wally Adamchik© 2006 FireStarter Speaking and Consulting

Wally Adamchik is President of FireStarter Speaking and Consulting. His new book is NO YELLING: The Nine Secrets of Marine Corps Leadership You MUST Know TO WIN In Business. Visit him online at www.beafirestarter.com He can be reached at 919-673-9499 or wally@beafirestarter.com

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This post is by a guest writer. Please see the "About" section above for more information about today's featured expert.