Leadership Libations

October 12, 2009

Flying Between The Clouds

Filed under: Uncategorized — robjelinek @ 8:40 pm

Was on a flight returning home last week, weather a little bit shakey with rain predicted in the area. As we began the descent, we bumped through the high altitude clouds. After a few minutes of rocking and rolling through the clouds, we crossed the final line and broke through the clouds. At that moment, I glanced out of the window of the little puddle-brace_450jumper we were on to see one of my favorite sites. Above me, the clouds we had just crossed through were the towering clouds reaching in large billows to the sky. And as I looked down, I saw another wave of clouds below us. That moment of flying between the clouds is one of the few sites that will pull my nose from my Kindle or my Crossword puzzle to watch the flight and appreciate the beauty.

As I sat there reflecting on the scene, the purpose of my trip, and the work I was doing with my client, another message of these clouds and the choices true leaders need to make started running through my head. The reminders these clouds and the circumstances provided were a solid reminder to the message I was delivering to my client.

  1. A leader’s job is to navigate the organization to their new reality. While it would have been comfortable to stay between the two waves of clouds, that wasn’t getting us closer to our destination. In fact, that very comfort level would keep us on a course, actually moving further away from where we needed to be heading.
  2. A leader’s needs to help us take on the turbulence. Yes, the “change” we were embarking on, to move through those clouds and put our wheels on the ground, wasn’t going to come without some bumps. The leader needs to help us expect the turbulence, get ready for the turbulence, in fact embrace the turbulence.
  3. A leader needs to read the conditions, the conditions of their team, and the conditions surrounding us. An organization that is afraid of the turbulence will never take the course that allows them to achieve their full potential. That is also true of an organization who constantly exists in turbulence, looking for the next bump. That organization will never successfully navigate through the clouds to their new reality. Instead, they’ll exist, tumblr_kp1uh09wB11qzqx0jo1_400and in fact feel the need to always be in flux. Change for the sake of change, without a destination, will create a team every bit as dysfunctional as the one that hides in the safety between the clouds.

Beautiful site that it was, yes we finally changed course and went through the final layer of the clouds. Landing in the rain on terra firma, one step closer to a new reality and one step closer to dinner with the family! Nice reminder that Leadership requires not only that we paint the vision, but that we help the organization expect and even learn to embrace the turbulence that change brings.

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