February 10, 2019

Keep your people bouncing

The din of the traffic hit me.
And snapped me out of my mental meanderings.

As I jogged down to the end of the gentle hill of Cavendish Road, I’d forgotten how noisy Colliers Wood High Street could be in the evening.
This tiny section of South London, not much more grand than a few streets between a BP garage and a tube station.

Usually, I turned right, along the High Street, and then jogged in a large square of streets, back towards our maisonette.
But on this late Summer evening, for some reason, I changed my mind.

I turned around 180 degrees, and started back up that hill.
Strange. I’m usually such a creature of habit.

The light of dusk was changing the colour of everything, as I looked ahead at something approaching me.
There in the distance I could see a fluffy white dog, bouncing merrily as if enjoying its own evening jog.
But, where was its owner?

I strained my eyes, as I noticed how its movement wasn’t that much different to a toddler, when they first learn to run.
Because they don’t run, do they?
They sort of bounce.
The movement always makes me smile.

Except I wasn’t smiling.

Because this bouncing bundle looked less and less like a happy doggie.
And more and more like a happy toddler.

I stopped jogging.

For goodness sake!
Who on earth would let a tiny child out alone at this time of night?
They must be careless… or simply insane!

Then I gasped in horror, as my vision cleared.
I recognised the black bouncing curls and the pale nightdress.
This was our toddler.
No more that 30 months old.

How the heck…!

I broke free of my paralysis.
And ran towards her shouting. Frightened witless.

Her beaming smile fell from her face, as I grabbed her into my arms.
I must have frightened her with my own fear.
Because she started wailing as I held her tightly to me.
Why would Daddy shout at me?

I tried to whisper to her, kissing her tears as I shushed her.
And she had settled into muffled sobs by the time we reached our blue front door, her head snuggled into my neck.

We’ll never understand how she managed to open that door.
Nor how she knew how to follow her Daddy down the long road to the deadly High Street.

People do that, don’t they?
They put their trust in us.
They follow us willingly; bouncing along behind us.
Members of our team.
Our clients.

Sometimes they’ll follow us blindly.
Until they wake up to the thought that, maybe, we’re not sure where we’re going.
Or if we do… it’s not where they want to be.

I once asked a team, “What’s Your Business Plan for the Next Three Years.”
Their response was “Plan? We Don’t Do ‘Plan’. We  Do Business By Bumble Here!”

Part of our own personal growth is our recognition that Leadership is about stewardship.
It’s a trust others place in us.
Whether clients, or our supporting team.

In all our self-concerned mental meanderings…
In the foggy business future we have to peer into…

Everybody wins, when we make that stewardship our priority.
And keep their beaming smiles and bouncing energy as one of our bottom-line objectives.