As we sailed by Cuba to our port side this weekend, I was reminded of the importance of leadership. Leadership can pull a country up and leadership can push a country down.

Leaders I work with will sometimes comment (with a good deal of honest humility) that “this place will run just fine without me.” Would it?

Certainly, the modern organization has a lot of momentum behind it.But momentum should not be confused with resiliency. A train has a lot momentum, but that is no guarantee it will stay on the tracks.

At the most basic level, an organization needs systems, goals, and values to function. Systems are the mechanism by which work is organized and tasks completed. Goals are the objectives that the organization will pursue. Values are the guidelines by which goals and behavior are evaluated. Leaders affect all three. In the absence of quality leaders, systems can degrade, appropriate objectives can be disregarded, and values can be forgotten.

Leaders are the glue that holds these elements together and not quite as easily replaced as people may think. I don’t make this point so that people can feel more secure in their jobs. I make this point so that leaders don’t so easily dismiss the positive impact they are having where they work. Sorry if that sounds revolutionary.