August 9, 2019

These Rare Moments of Leadership Vision

I stood and looked at the families gathered.
Then I spoke of her as if she were still here.

This lady, this laughing being.
This aged child, seated in her chintzed, faded, tattered fabric, moulded to wrap around her failing body.
This person whose life’s path somehow crossed mine.

The childhood stories and mischievous episodes she would share with me.
Stories I pleaded with her to write down, in her careful, black notebook. Her life’s tales recorded.

She possessed so little of this world’s goods.
But wealth she held aplenty.
Stored in that heart of hers.

And now I had the privilege of speaking of her.
Of sharing some of the secrets that had made us chuckle.
Of comforting those who didn’t yet understand how happy she is now.
How alive she really is.

These are amongst those rare moments in our lives that cause us to truly ponder.
To reflect on our rushings and frettings and goal-settings and strivings.

Our sales numbers, our market share, our margins.
Our propositions and our value-added.
Our endless, endless stuff.
Our noise.

As we work and we work and we work and we work.

Then a sunrise, or a child’s laughter.
The mist across the fields, or the silver singing of a wave.
The smile of someone’s understanding, awakening in a meeting.
The sigh of a forest breeze, or the tear on a friend’s cheek… as they catch a fragile memory.

As I meet with leaders in private conversation and deep coaching…
I catch my breath as they consider what is really important in their ever-demanding roles.

They tell me what they want to be remembered for.
Which is very, very seldom what they are investing their precious hours in building.

Then they smile at the discovery of what they knew all along.
Of returning to this place in their lives. This place where they started.
And knowing it properly for the first time.

What is joyous to me is that some of these people-who-see-anew… well they actually change.
It may take them months to re-prioritise unhelpful ingrained habits.
I’ve seen it take three or four years.

But change they do.
And the stories show that every part of their life (including their business) benefits.
Measurably, clearly so.

Which fills me with much hope to carry on.
To carry on helping the founders and drivers of businesses.
To carry on helping them take the scales from their eyes.
To carry on challenging them to hold to the light their real priority.
To carry on asking them…

“When all is said and done.
When there is no more that you can possibly say or do.
What do you wish them (those you are responsible for leading and influencing) to say?
To say about the leader you were?
To say about the person you grew to be?”

Then hold my breath, to see if they will peer hard through the fog.
And glimpse the simplicity of the magnificent, selfless leader they were meant to become…
On the far side of the complexity they have woven.