Somewhere, Over the Rainbow . . .


For everyone who sees it, The Wizard of Oz is a special movie. Here at Arceil Leadership, it is all the more special, for it captures the essence of our philosophy.

Think about the words to the movie's exquisite theme song, "Over the Rainbow." They invoke a deep yearning for a better life:

Someday I'll wish upon a star
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney top
That's where you'll find me.

Indeed, it's no exaggeration to say the entire, iconic 1939 motion picture itself is a study in leadership. Think of young Dorothy (Judy Garland) as a leader who lacks an official title or a lofty position but is full of focus, curiosity, passion, and courage — the impetus, the propulsion, and the thrust of leadership. Her three companions need what she has and what she offers, but first she must bring them along. The yellow brick road is the journey they walk together. They find their way to the Emerald City only to confront the wizard, who is at once a sad, disappointing fraud and yet also an enduring, inspirational font of wisdom. Ultimately, it all has a happy ending.

Our philosophy and purpose take the work of leadership on just such a vital journey. We even named our flagship model the Rainbow, in part because it looks like one (but, honestly, also in part because we just love the song). Everything we do reflects both our philosophy and our purpose.

In brief, our philosophy holds that:

  • Leadership and management are different but complementary. They should be viewed not as levels of an organization but as kinds of work. Anyone in any position of authority in any organization must do both and therefore should be skilled at both, and anyone else can. But individuals who are good managers are not necessarily good leaders, and vice versa.
  • The work of managing concerns itself with organizing and ensuring performance to a predetermined expectation of some sort: a budget, a deadline, a quota, a parameter, or a standard. Its deliverable is alignment, and its essential message is strict accountability on compliance. The communication that drives it is typically directive, detailed, and influencing, and its tone conveys concern, fear, and authority.
  • The work of leading concerns itself with envisioning and articulating an ideal, values-based future state and inspiring people to go to extraordinary lengths to achieve that vision, often to their immediate self-sacrifice and commonly in an environment of risk and uncertainty. Its deliverable is engagement, and its essential message is a noble opportunity for change. The communication that drives it is typically collaborative, general, and inspiring, and its tone conveys hope, encouragement, and aspiration.
  • Good communication—clear, candid, credible, compelling—is the energy of leadership. Words are powerful, for they mold attitudes and identity, and they bring people together around a concern and a cause. But words alone are not enough. They must prove their validity by intention, attitude, and deed.
  • Leadership is essential to change, and therefore enduring change is impossible without leadership. The single most important change that most companies can make is a dramatic increase in the engagement of their people.
  • Many organizations have solid management but few have dynamic leadership and sufficient levels of engagement. Consequently, few organizations are able to marshal change.
  • Leaders need followers more than followers need leaders. Leaders must connect with followers so as not to leave them behind, and leaders connect best with followers through a systematic process of integrated, strategic leadership communication.

Our purpose is simple and straightforward. We want to make leadership and change simple, natural, and as close to inevitable in your organization as we possibly can. We think you will like that.

Offered by Arceil Leadership Ltd., our blog is written by the firm’s founder and president, Thomas J. Lee, who is solely responsible for its content.



You can reach us in multiple ways:

  • By email, we're at Our days are typically full, so please allow us time to respond.
  • By telephone, we're at +1-650-464-1770. It's wise to email us before calling. That way, we will have your contact information in writing, and we can schedule a convenient time to talk.
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By all means, do reach out to us!