Lessons from Other Leaders: Napoleon Hill

Definiteness of Purpose is the Compass for Your Leadership


Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve. 

Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage.

Napoleon Hill has become a legend, quoted by leadership trainers constantly, and a resource for leaders in every field.

His primary book is titled Think and Grow Rich. It’s about success. He talks about money, but it’s not about money. It’s about effective leadership. He was introduced to the most successful people of the time by Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie, the most successful and wealthy of them all, knew Edison, Ford, Woolworth, Wanamaker, and many other successful businessmen. Carnegie’s letter of introduction gave Hill the chance to spend time with each of them and determine their secrets of success.

These business leaders had several things in common. Hill was able to formulate his Success Principles which, as the core of his principles, are taught and followed by numerous business leaders to this day.

My sense of what Hill teaches is that intellectual capital comes first. He constantly talks about definiteness of purpose in his writings. He also goes on to say that the purpose must bring value to people.

Next, he defines how each leader interviewed created and maintained effective relationships with a mastermind group. This model is used today by many leaders. We are the holder of the vision and must ensure that the vision is faithfully executed. We do not, however, have all the answers about the execution of that vision. We need good minds around us, and need to establish the context for collaborative thinking.

Finally, Hill points out that we must visualize the end result in full detail. Even though his first book is called Think and Grow Rich, it’s not solely about money. He identifies money as a defined goal. Money is not the only objective. Money is important. It’s not the only thing, however, there is a basic understanding that businesses must be profitable. Yes!

Notice the order of these principles – first, intellectual capital, next, relationship capital, finally, the result is financial capital. All too often, leaders focus on the money as the primary objective. Well, it is, however, it must come as a result of the idea and be built with the right relationships. We want to start with the money, which is not the pathway to success.

Have you defined your definite purpose?

Have you defined the value of your purpose?

Have you shared your purpose?

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist

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(c) 2012 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.


Hugh Ballou (Author)