This past week, I was prepping for a few interviews with local media outlets when my mind drifted to the Gatorade commercial from last year that features J.J. Watt. Talk about good marketing! I will give credit where credit is due. It is a genius commercial.

Check it out for yourself.

In this 30 second advertisement, J.J. Watt summarizes that we all believe that we are doing something to separate ourselves from the competition – whether it be an extra rep, getting to the field before dawn, or sporting the latest and greatest gear. In all actuality, these aren’t the things that separate good from great. The difference is found in the small things. The minute details. Or as J.J. Watt refers to it in the commercial: ounces. Obviously a great way to reference their product. What did I tell you? Genius!

As my mind continued to wander, I began thinking about leadership development and why this issue is such a hard nut to crack.

Allow me to explain.

Throughout my tenure at Solutions 21, I have spoken with several hundred business owners and executives who say the same thing: “We are already developing our future leaders.” And the hard truth is that they probably are. But these folks remind me of the athletes in the Gatorade commercial. The ones who felt like they were the only ones putting in the extra work and that their extra effort was going to separate themselves from the pack. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Leadership development matters in the details – or ounces – just like an athlete’s abilities. Executives can say they are doing right by their high-potential employees and investing in their leadership development just like any athlete can say that they spent 3 hours in the gym working on their free throws or 3 hours on the field working on their footwork. But it is not a one-size-fits-all, check-the-box initiative. It is something that demands customization, intent, and attention to detail.

And I can tell you this: when it comes to today’s 21st-century workforce, leadership is and will always be the competitive advantage in any business. It can’t (and won’t) be a competitive advantage if everyone has the same approach and doesn’t put in the extra work to step their game up. Ounces, people. Ounces.