Common Sense is Never Enough

I wish someone would have given me this book nearly 30 years ago when I started my career on the front lines. It would have changed my life then. It can change your life now.Blue Collar Leadership Cover picture

Separate yourself from the crowd quickly by learning how to master the traits High Impact leaders value most. You will learn how to get noticed for the right reasons and how to get promoted for the right reasons. You will learn how to become recognized as a front line leader worth following, and you don’t need formal authority (position) because you will develop something better: moral authority (influence).

Note: The following is an excerpt (Chapter 4) from my newest book, Blue-Collar-Leadership: Leading from the Front Lines. Order now by clicking here. I’ll be posting the first 5 of 30 chapters as a short series.

Click here to start with Chapter 1




“We only truly know something—that is, have personal knowledge of it—when we can apply it to get results.” ~ Polanyi

As you continue reading, I’m sure you will often find yourself thinking, “This is all just common sense.” It is commonly understood. However, when it comes to human behavior, what’s commonly understood, often referred to as common sense, is most often not commonly practiced. If it was, there would be no market for leadership and people development, and everyone would be amazingly happy and tremendously successful.

But, leadership is a HUGE industry! Many people are unhappy at work and at home while struggling to make ends meet. Nearly all of them know something they should stop doing to improve their lives and know something they should start doing to improve their lives. But, they don’t do it! Why?

Common sense alone will not lead you to success. It will help, but it’s not enough. Knowing and doing are two very different things that will lead you to very different results. Knowing how to lose weight doesn’t mean someone who wants to lose weight will lose weight. We all know how to lose weight. We watch our calories in (what we eat) and exercise (calories out). It’s common sense. Everyone knows that!

To know something and not do it is not truly knowing it.
To understand something and not apply it is not truly understanding it.

Everyone seems to know common sense is not common practice. However, most people don’t seem to know why.

Knowing why common sense is not common practice requires an intellectual level of understanding far beyond common sense. In other words, you need to be an above average thinker.

When I speak on the subject of common sense in my leadership development seminars, everyone in the room always realizes the leadership principles I speak about are common sense. They also know they are not commonly practiced by most people.

Why isn’t common sense always common practice?

I’ve come to understand the problem is found in the definition of common sense which leads to our expectations sometimes not being met. When someone says something is common sense, they mean it is commonly understood.

What most people are missing is this: There’s a huge difference between understanding what should be done and doing what is understood. And, it often takes more smarts to do something than it does to understand something.

Doing what is commonly understood often requires uncommon sense.

Here’s a simple example to prove my point:

It’s common sense to understand you should invest your time and money into your own personal growth and development if you want to become more effective and successful at work which will also improve your life when you’re at home. Do you agree? If you want to be better, you need to get better. Common sense right? Of course, it is.

But, are you doing it frequently and regularly? You’re doing it now as you read this book. Is this your first personal development (leadership) book or one of hundreds? Do you think the person reading a leadership book for the first time is getting the same results as someone that has read hundreds of leadership books? It’s highly unlikely.

Leadership is influence. The more influence you have the more options you will have at work and at home. Who will get the promotion, the person with the most influence or someone else? Who will have a more enjoyable day at work or at home, a person with more influence or less?

“The top 5 percent of achievers invest an average of $3,000 per year on personal growth while the other 95% average only $7 per year.” ~ Les Brown

If we invest in ourselves and become intentional about moving ourselves forward, we will move forward. Our personal and professional lives will get better. Most people will instantly agree. But, most people don’t do it. Most people won’t do it.

Instead, most people will choose to waste more money on a weekend hanging out having a good time than they will invest in their own personal growth and development in a whole year.

Why is this the case? Because common sense means we understand what we should do. However, doing it requires uncommon sense. I’m sure by now you get the point. After all, it’s common sense.

I added this chapter because I want to be sure you realize up front it will take much more than common sense to apply what you will learn in this book. You will have to develop and use uncommon sense to get the results you deserve and are capable of achieving. Don’t just zip through the pages. Think deeply about what you’re learning and the impact applying it will have on your life.

You can apply it. But, will you apply it? I hope you do!

“The critical skill of this century is not what you hold in your head, but your ability to tap into and access what other people know. The best leaders and the fastest learners know how to harness collective intelligence.” ~ Liz Wiseman