If leadership was easy, anyone could do it. The climate leaders operate in is always changing: sunny one day, stormy the next. All leaders inevitably face hot water—even boiling water. A major customer cancels THE order you need to make this year’s numbers. Three months before you are going to introduce a new and exciting, market-making widget, Apple hits the market with its iWidget. Batteries in cell phones catch on fire or an earthquake shuts off your supply line for six months. A popular staff member leaves and church attendance drops 20% or a popular chef leaves and reservations drop by 20%. (You get the idea.)
In these “boiling hot” times, you get to choose whether you are a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean.
Boiling water changes the carrots. They wilt, turn soft, and end up at the bottom of the stew pot.
Boiling water changes the eggs. The shell looks the same, but inside they are entirely different—hard, even tough, and they get chopped up so they don’t even look like eggs anymore.
Boiling water changes the…opps, I started to say coffee beans. But actually, coffee beans change the boiling water—it becomes coffee—aromatic, strong, flavorful, better. You can’t drink boiling water, but coffee is great.
Whatever climate you are operating in, be a coffee bean, change the climate instead of letting the climate change you. If you don’t know—get help. If you don’t, you’ll end up at the bottom of the stew pot. And you know what happens to stew when there is nothing left but over-cooked carrots.
This post was inspired by a story in Gullible’s Travel by Topper Long. Thanks, Topper.
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© Copyright 2016 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company.
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner