The Fido Factor: What Dogs Can Teach You about Great Leadership

Insights from guest blogger Krissi Barr

Krissi Barr, executive coach, corporate strategist, author and friend of Centennial, has helped businesses of all sizes make the most of their resources.  We are honored to share some of her leadership insights with you today.

Dogs have a natural genius for leadership. We arrived at this conclusion after many years of painstaking research, which included thousands of hours of ear scratching, throwing tennis balls and watching many seasons of dog shows on Animal Planet.

The leadership traits that dogs embody can be boiled down to four key areas—the “Fido Factors”.

Faithful: Form a bond with a dog and you’ll have a faithful friend forever. Someone you can rely on and who will defend you no matter what. When you are regarded as faithful it means you’ve earned such trust. It means that you can be relied upon. This earned trust comes from being loyal to your employees and customers, and doing what you say you’re going to do when you say you’ll do it. It’s awfully hard to be a great leader if others don’t think you’re committed to the cause.

Inspirational: Dogs are naturally inspirational. They make us feel good, lift our spirits and energize us to our very core. Selfless, motivational and with a tail that always speaks the truth, dogs make us believe that anything is possible. To maximize your leadership role in your organization requires that you have the ability to inspire greatness in others.

Determined: Leadership requires determination to reach your goals and dogs are doggedly determined. They mix perseverance with a fearless attitude. Combine a sharp focus with a never-give-up mentality and a little fur, and you get someone who is unstoppable. Furry, but unstoppable nonetheless. All leaders know they need a team that’s fiercely determined to succeed.

Observant: Dogs are highly observant. They are always looking for more information. They use all their senses, watch for body language and listen for meaning. Then they make their decision. In a world where information is plentiful and fast changing, only those leaders who are dedicated to soaking it all in—and assimilating it into a cohesive strategy—will prevail.

To make this even easier to remember, here’s a mnemonic device: the four Fido leadership factors—faithful, inspirational, determined and observant—spell out the name Fido. What are the odds?

If you’re ready to unleash your leadership potential, check out our new book, The Fido Factor: The Leadership Wisdom of Dogs. We walk you through exactly how to develop these four essential leadership qualities, so you can get a leg up on the competition.

To learn more about Krissi’s consulting work , visit her website at

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