Olive is my kayak and we haven’t been out in a while. We used to live about two blocks from a lake, but we moved about a year ago and Olive hasn’t been in the water. When my son gave me an early birthday present of a kayak kit for my vehicle, my excuses officially expired.
So Olive and I went to the Big Sioux River and amazingly, she had some thoughts on leadership. So I share those today:
- Go upstream first. Stephen Covey uses an illustration of putting the big rocks in a jar first, then there’s room for smaller rocks and sand. So take the tough things on first. Deal with the big rocks first and there will be room for more.
- Some rocks are easy to see, some are not. There are rocks that you can easily see in the river. You learn to see flow patterns over rocks just under the surface. Sometimes you hit a rock you don’t see. Every leader will have problems – some are obvious, some you can learn to anticipate, some sneak up on you.
- Measuring progress. When going upstream against the current, it feels like you’re making no progress. When it feels like you’re going nowhere, look at the shoreline. When it feels like you aren’t moving ahead, find another measure. It might be slow, forward progress.
- Take time to rest. It provides renewed energy.
- Slow down and you see more.
- There are times when you need to paddle hard and times to let the current do the work. Get the right equipment and people. Be willing to do anything but also know when to get out of the way and let them do their work.
- After the rough waters, there is usually a period of calm. Enjoy the calm while it lasts.
- Know when to stop.
Who knew Olive had so much to say on leadership. And now I’ll stop.