March 12, 2015

A picture of leadership

I’ve already mentioned Selma in a recent blog. Then it was music. Now it’s a picture. This cover page from the New York Times says so much that is good in leadership: Out the front, sleeves rolled up, a purpose, all sorts of ordinary people on board, some real stayers who have been with the challenge since the beginning, reflection on past battles, never growing weary and together.

A picture of leadership's many facets.

A picture of leadership’s many facets.

What would your picture of your leadership look like?

Stephen

March 11, 2015

Imperfect

In the movie Force Majeure Tomas, Ebba and their two children are holidaying at a French ski resort. During lunch at the outdoor restaurant on the second day they observe what they think is a controlled avalanche. Suddenly it becomes apparent that it might not be controlled and a wall of snow is about to engulf the family. The children scream and Ebba attempts to protect them. Tomas grabs his cellphone and runs for safety leaving them behind.

It's  a perfect day, but you need to be ready for that to change.

It’s a perfect day, but you need to be ready for that to change.

It’s a false alarm, the wall of snow was fog and the avalanche had stopped clear of the resort. Tomas returns to find his family shaken, and they resume their lunch.

Nothing is said in the immediate aftermath of the incident but it places a dark cloud over the family and their holiday. Eventually Ebba confronts Tomas on why he abandoned his family in the face of such a devastating threat.

Tomas denies Ebba’s version, telling her she is entitled to her perception of events and suggesting that he couldn’t have run anyway, as he was wearing ski boots. A video of the event is produced which shows Tomas doing a runner but he remains unapologetic.

I couldn’t help think that Tomas’ behaviour was probably a “fight or flee” reaction, but leaving the children behind was not something Ebba (or others she engaged about the incident) could really understand.

Much of the movie was spent by me thinking “why don’t you just man up and accept it was a reaction, but wrong?”.

None of us is perfect, and neither is any leader. But we try. When we fail it’s time to man or woman up, acknowledge it, do what is necessary to fix it so everyone can move on.

Ebba and the children couldn’t move on.

Neither could Tomas – that was a big insight for me.

Anything you need to man or woman up on today?

Stephen

Next blog about a stunning picture of leadership.

March 10, 2015

169 cars (and 3 buses)

Travelling on two wheels up the bus lane on Dominion Road most mornings gives me a sense of the futility of single car commuting. I spent years doing it, love driving and retreat to the car when I’m not feeling 100% or I feel the weather is a risk factor.

This morning there was quite a group of scooters and motorcycles together for most of the distance. A feeling of camaraderie and freedom. It’s a lot of fun too.

The e-bike is just as good, if not better, and not much slower. The fantastic Grafton Gully to Tamaki Drive cycleway is mine to luxuriate on for half the journey.

The other day I counted how many cars I passed on Dominion Road, many stationary.

No exactly Dominion Road, but Waiheke isn't far!

Not exactly Dominion Road, but Waiheke isn’t far!

I’m deliberately grouping bike and motorcycles together, there are similar advantages. It’ll take quite a lot more commitment by leadership to make it a preferred option for the solo-car commuter.

From the car it can appear mildly annoying, not like real road users. From the two wheels it’s freedom, fun and most of all fast!

It might not be an alternative across the bridge (yet), but for many people I see, it would be a great option. Forget lectures about the environment, congestion or your wallet.

Just for yourself. It’s fun.

Now that’s got to be a reason to do something!

Have you overlooked fun in your leadership today?

Stephen

Next blog about being imperfect.

March 5, 2015

The value in a road trip

Driving from Avignon to Florence is one amazing drive. Viaduct follows tunnel follows viaduct. The count on the trip in 2013 was over 150 tunnels. The road is narrow compared to most New Zealand motorways and expressways – there isn’t a wide verge that is the norm here. The driving is fast, accurate and everyone keeps right except when overtaking. I loved the cars too: Fiats, Lancias (we don’t get them here now), Porsches, Ferraris, Range Rovers, oh and of course a few BMWs.

Acting out our freedom value

Acting out our values

Despite the fact I commute mainly on two wheels now (see next blog), I love a road trip. The other day I was in Taupo and with the traffic light on the Waikato Expressway, drivers mainly keeping left, on cruise control I had a mini relapse back to Italy,

There were four of us for about 40 kilometres –  me, a Chrysler V8, a BMW motorcycle and a fourth car I didn’t identify – all travelling in convoy, in respect, at steady speed. A great part of a great road trip.

In the past I’ve reflected on the joy of the road trip. Whenever I’ve thought about the ideal holiday, car travel comes to mind.

I’ve enjoyed driving since the day I first drove on my 15th birthday. That feeling of freedom behind the wheel on the open road is still with me.

What’s your most important value? What do you do to exercise that value to bring meaning and joy?

Tauranga on Friday! Can’t wait.

Stephen

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