As a battleship cruised through the open water the Captain decided to stay on deck one night as a fog set in causing visibility to be almost zero. Late into the night another light could be seen up ahead directly in front of the battleship. The Captain yelled up to the crows nest to signal to change course 20 degrees. The signal came back from the light ahead “you change course 20 degrees”. The Captain now irritated went up to the crows nest and signaled, “This is a Captain in the United States Navy, change course 20 degrees”… the signal came back “This is a second lieutenant you change course 20 degrees”… The Captain now furious signaled back “This is a battleship, you will change course 20 degrees.” The signal came back “This is a light house, the choice is yours.”
This is a shortened version of a story Stephan Covey told in one of his books. So often we are forced to analyze situations and make decisions without all the information. So often we get so caught up in our own understanding of situations and challenges that we lose sight of the big picture and don’t work collaboratively through issues. Remember that things are not always as they first seem because we see things through our own pre-judgments and this can cloud our perception of the facts.
Visiting communities I often see teams fall into the trap of “routine” doing things the same way they have always done them and not fully understanding the “why” behind it. Try to look at things from a different perspective this week; because you have always done something as certain way is not a good reason to continue it, constantly question, is there a way to do this more efficiently or provide a better service to our residents by delivering it a different way? A.A. Milne put this best in the opening paragraph of Winnie-the-Pooh “Here is Edward Bear, coming down the stairs now, bump, bump, bump on the back of his head behind Christopher Robin. It is as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is a better way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.”
Quotes on Leadership:
“Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious about an outcome. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement, and failure.” – Brian Adams
There is a lot of uncertainty in the world today. Be the calming influence in your community and keep moving your community one step further every day.
“The key to successful leadership today is influence not authority.” – Kenneth Blanchard
Using your authority to get results is management not leadership. Management breeds mediocrity, leadership breeds excellence.
“The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.” – John Buchan
Those leaders that have the ability to bring a team together and harness the greatness that is in each individual on the team towards a common purpose will be successful in whatever they take on.
“Leadership is the ability of a single individual through his or her actions to motivate others to higher levels of achievement.” – Buck Rogers
“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can, there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.” – Sarah Caldwell
We must never stop learning and changing. Soak up all the knowledge you can from every person that you meet.
“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality; the second is to form a team of capable individuals, the third is to get out of the way, and the last is to say thank you.” – Max Dupree
“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” – Douglas Adams