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If you asked a chemical engineer almost anywhere in the world to define Reynolds number, they would all probably say something like, āThe Reynolds number is the ratio of inertial forces to viscous forces within a fluid which is subjected to relative internal movement due to different fluid velocities.ā

And they would express it mathematically as: Re = (ĻuL)/Āµ, where; Re is Reynolds number, Ļ is density, u is velocity, L is length and Āµ is viscosity.

If you asked an electrical engineer to define electrical resistance they would undoubtedly say, āElectrical resistance is an intrinsic property that quantifies how strongly a given material opposes the flow of electric currentā

And they would express it mathematically as: R = V/I, where; R is the resistance, V is the voltage and I is the current.

If you asked leadership consultants around the world to define leadership, they would probably all have a different opinion and Iām not sure how they would represent it mathematically speaking.

As someone who worked in chemical laboratories (white coat, test-tubes, things blowing up etc.) for the first 10 years or so of my professional life; Iām going to try to take a āscientificā approach to defining leadership.

When I was a student we used to derive equations from āfirst principlesā, so here we go.

Leadership is all about having a vision, somewhere to take people to; MLK had āa colour-blind Americaā, Mandela had āA rainbow South Africaā, Obama had āWe can do itā and even Trump had āMake America great againā.

So, mathematically we can say that Leadership is a āfunctionā of vision; L = f (V)

However, leadership is also about having a mission and a purpose; so, we can expand our equation to, L = f (VMP). i.e. leadership is a function of vision, mission and purpose.

In fact, we could say that leadership is directly proportional to vision, mission and purpose; i.e. a clear and inspiring vision, mission and purpose will contribute positively to leadership success.

There are currently a lot of articles around āegoā an itās role in the downfall of leaders; we can integrate ego into our equation by saying that leadership success is āinverselyā proportional to ego, i.e. the greater the ego the less leadership success.

This can be written as L = f (E)-1

Now, we can combine our VMP with our E-1 to give us L = f (VMP/E); our leadership equation is starting to look like something scientific!

All the really great scientific equations have a āconstantā. In Einsteinās famous E = MC2, C is the speed of light, in the famous PV = nRt, R is the Universal gas constant. Other āgreatā constants are the Planck number, the StefanāBoltzmann constant, the Gravitational constant and Avogadroās number to name but a few.

In order to make our equation āgreatā it needs a constant; i.e. we need an equation that looks like:
L = K(VMP/E), where K (or another letter) is a constant; something unchanging and universal when talking about leadership. In fact, to make it look really scientific, the constant should probably be represented by a Greek letter; Lambda (the origin of our L) could be a candidate.

This would give us: L = Ī(VMP/E) ā now we have something that looks like a real leadership equation.

The question now is what might Ī actually be; what is the āsomething unchanging and universalā when talking about leadership?

Any suggestions?