CHARTING THE COURSE
HAVE YOU TAKEN THE TIME TO CHART THE COURSE FOR THE PEOPLE YOU’RE LEADING?
Nearly anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. Before leaders take their people on a journey, they become navigators and go through a process in order to give the trip the best chance of being a success:
Navigators Draw on Past Experience: Most natural leaders are activists. They tend to look forward—not backward—make decisions, and move on. But for leaders to become good navigators, they need to take time to reflect and learn from their experiences.
Navigators Examine the Conditions Before Making Commitments: Good navigators count the cost before making commitments for themselves and others. They examine not only measurable factors such as finances, resources, and talent, but also intangibles such as timing, morale, momentum, culture, and so on.
Navigators Listen to What Others Have to Say: No matter how good a leader you are, you yourself will not have all the answers. That’s why top-notch navigators gather information from many sources.
Navigators Make Sure Their Conclusions Represent Both Faith and Fact: Being able to navigate for others requires a leader to possess a positive attitude. You’ve got to have faith that you can take your people all the way. On the other hand, you also have to be able to see the facts realistically. If you don’t go in with your eyes wide open, you’re going to get blindsided.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”
“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”
Henry David Thoreau
“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.”
Leaders Leading Leaders
Once upon a time a tortoise and a hare had an argument about who was faster. They decided to settle the argument with a race. They agreed on a route and started off the race. The hare shot ahead and ran briskly for some time. Then seeing that he was far ahead of the tortoise, he thought he’d sit under a tree for some time and relax before continuing the race. He sat under the tree and soon fell asleep. The tortoise plodding on overtook him and soon finished the race, emerging as the undisputed champ. The hare woke up and realized that he’d lost the race.
The moral- Slow and steady wins the race. This is the version of the story that we’ve all grown up with.
THE STORY DOESN’T END HERE, there are few more interesting things…..it continues as follows……
The hare was disappointed at losing the race and he did some soul-searching. He realized that he’d lost the race only because he had been overconfident, careless and lax. If he had not taken things for granted, there’s no way the tortoise could have beaten him. So he challenged the tortoise to another race. The tortoise agreed. This time, the hare went all out and ran without stopping from start to finish. He won by several miles.
The moral – Fast and consistent will always beat the slow and steady. It’s good to be slow and steady; but it’s better to be fast and reliable.
THE STORY DOESN’T END HERE
The tortoise did some thinking this time, and realized that there’s no way it can beat the hare in a race the way it was currently formatted. It thought for a while, and then challenged the hare to another race, but on a slightly different route. The hare agreed. They started off. In keeping with his self-made commitment to be consistently fast, the hare took off and ran at top speed until he came to a broad river. The finishing line was a couple of kilometers on the other side of the river. The hare sat there wondering what to do. In the meantime the tortoise trundled along, got into the river, swam to the opposite bank, continued walking and finished the race.
The moral – First identify your core competency and then change the playing field to suit your core competency.
THE STORY STILL HASN’T ENDED.
The hare and the tortoise, by this time, had become pretty good friends and they did some thinking together. Both realized that the last race could have been run much better. So they decided to do the last race again, but to run as a team this time. They started off, and this time the hare carried the tortoise till the riverbank. There, the tortoise took over and swam across with the hare on his back. On the opposite bank, the hare again carried the tortoise and they reached the finishing line together. They both felt a greater sense of satisfaction than they’d felt earlier.
The moral – It’s good to be individually brilliant and to have strong core competencies; but unless you’re able to work in a team and harness each other’s core competencies, you’ll always perform below par because there will always be situations at which you’ll do poorly and someone else does well.
Teamwork is mainly about situational leadership, letting the person with the relevant core competency for a situation take leadership.
Note that neither the hare nor the tortoise gave up after failures. The hare decided to work harder and put in more effort after his failure. The tortoise changed his strategy because he was already working as hard as he could.
In life, when faced with failure, sometimes it is appropriate to work harder and put in more effort. Sometimes it is appropriate to change strategy and try something different. And sometimes it is appropriate to do both. The hare and the tortoise also learnt another vital lesson. When we stop competing against a rival and instead start competing against the situation, we perform far better.
To sum up, the story of the hare and tortoise has much to say:
- Chief among them are that fast and consistent will always beat slow and steady;
- Work to your competencies;
- Pooling resources and working as a team will always beat individual performers;
- Never give up when faced with failure;
- Finally, compete against the situation – not against a rival.