I was talking with Gary Smith last week and he shared an insight on leadership that is often overlooked. I specifically asked Gary how he leads through transitions because he has been CEO of Ciena since 2001, successfully leading through the 2002 bubble, the 2008 recession and the past few years of digital transformation to build Ciena into a leader in network strategy and connectivity. Gary’s response was,“ If you want to be a good leader, you first have to be able to lead yourself.”

To me the message sums up the essence of true leadership … the most powerful way to galvanize a culture to change is for everyone to witness their CEO changing first. So as you are thinking about how to transform your organization, first think … how do I need to transform myself so my enterprise can transform successfully?