A lead is anything that someone needs to see and react to in order for progress to happen.
Important questions, key pieces of information, and unseen drafts are all examples of leads.
When we are not careful, we sometimes end up burying the lead. For example, we might put the lead in the middle: the middle of an e-mail, the middle of a your ad copy, or the middle of a report. When we put things in the middle of anything, we risk them not getting seen by the people we aim to serve which can leave us and the work uncomfortably thumb-twiddling at square one for an unknown period of time.
Alternatively, we can be intentional about putting the lead in obvious places: the subject line, the first sentence of a conversation that starts with “This is needed for progress to happen”, or perhaps in a list of bullet points at the top of a report that promises to communicate the essentials — the gist — of what needs to be known.
Making important things obvious to the people that need to to know them is an act of compassion that almost always make the mechanics of team work, value creation, and change-making better.