Leadership – Put Out or Shut Up

Leadership-Shutup-Todd-NielsenI usually refrain from posting articles about lessons learned from disasters, just out of respect for the events. This week though, a valuable leadership lesson was displayed to me and the words “put-out or shut-up” is what cycles through my mind.

Business owners, and individuals the world over have offered help in various forms to the disaster that has played out in Oklahoma. The outpouring of help and love has been tremendous. Unfortunately, as with any natural disaster, there is confusion about how to help, what is needed, and what kind of help will create the greatest impact. Leaders of organizations often know they should do something, but they are just not sure what. At JMARK Business Solutions, where I recently accepted the post as Chief Operations Officer, the discussion on Monday and Tuesday was not one of delay, and wondering if, where, and what help could be given. The decision was made in seconds that we were going to help. We quickly put together a team, equipment, and supplies and sent them in trucks to Moore, Oklahoma.

The leadership lesson in this is this idea of “put out or shut-up.” Leaders walk the walk, and talk the talk. They do what they say, and say what they do. While sometimes a decision needs to be analyzed and vetted, there are times when you just need to get off your butt, and act. It does not displace teamwork; it’s the team that maximizes the impact.

Sometimes you have to go forward in a direction, not exactly knowing the full impact of the decision. Our team has plenty of food, supplies, and equipment. They have lodging arranged and we have some initial contact with individuals and organizations in Moore that we will be helping, but a lot of it is just pure hope, that we can make an impact. We are not exactly sure what we will do, but do – we will.

The world needs more leaders and more organizations, that are willing to put-out and make the world, and their organizations, a better place. We need more leaders that don’t confuse helping, with wanting to help. We need more leaders that don’t just offer, they give.

About Todd Nielsen

Todd Nielsen helps organizations create miracles of success and profitability through the power of execution. Having served as Vice-President, President, Chief Operations Officer, and Chief Executive Officer of organizations, he has learned how to create a culture that "Gets Things Done." He is passionate about leadership, and is a dynamic and inspirational speaker.


  1. Thanks for this excellent post. Leaders who put skin in the game are the only ones worthy of the name.

  2. What a powerful article with dead on points about leadership. Reminded me of a phrase one of my leaders shared with me “you can’t push a rope, you must pull it”. In other words, just as you state “Leaders walk the walk, and talk the talk. They do what they say, and say what they do”. Thank you for a great article, gentle reminder and inspiration to lead on.

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