Communicating with Impact is one of my Bitesize Leadership Techniques. They are exactly what the title suggests. Short snippets of leadership tips, tools, process and ideas for you to use on a just-in-time basis. Use them as an update and to refresh your leadership professionalism. You could call it leadership in a hurry!
I was attending a town hall (meeting) and one of the topics being covered was safety. In shipping, safety plays a major role in our work. Usually, these talks are pretty straight forward, more about following processes. The speaker threw a question at us that got me thinking. He asked us, “who should get the recognition, the firefighter who puts out the fire or the safety inspector who prevents it?”. Later that night, I continued to reflect on this question over a glass of wine and realized that both sides had strong points. The firefighter needs to perform under severe stress which is needed in high performing teams, but the security inspector’s dependability saves a lot of time and resources. In conclusion, both roles are needed when you assemble a team, but I was not yet satisfied with this reflection and continued to think about it for a week as I felt that I was missing something.
Then it hit me one night. What if I spent time talking to the firefighter and the safety inspector in order to understand more about why they do what they do and what motivates them to do it every day? By getting to know their passion I will understand the true value that they add to the team.
I grew up in a big family and our mother worked during the day and at night she went to college. A true example of dedication and passion for what she believed in. So, you can imagine that there was little time for her to investigate what each of her 4 sons were passionate about. We all went to baseball summer league, boy scouts, karate and were part of the swimming team. I did not enjoy most of them but staying at home in front of the television was not an option. My mom believed in hard work and if you were not good at something, hard work would pay off. And it did but I did not enjoy it. As I got older and started making my own decisions, I did not pursue any of those activities. I only realised years later the benefits of my mother pushing us to be dedicated to everything we did.
Many moons ago, I worked on the project that conceived, developed and launched the world’s first debit card. The initiative was led by a terrific individual, Bill Hislop, now sadly passed away. I was reminded of his verve and vitality as a leader by the background that appeared on booting up Windows 10 earlier this week.
I remember Bill speaking to a group of new graduate entrants and showing two cartoons. The first showed a climber atop a mountain peak with the caption, “It’s now how far you’ve come…” The second showed a broader perspective of the landscape with the climber standing on what could be considered a mere hillock looking out to a Mordor-like mountain range; the caption read, “… it’s how far there is to go.”
The background picture off Windows was this: