Leadership Is An Experiment!
I love ending the year with a trip to Hawaii. Nothing beats running the Honolulu marathon and taking surfing lessons on the North Shore while watching the Billabong Pipeline Competition!
Try Something New
Before this trip, I ran the NY marathon for the second time and started reading the book Let My People Go Surfing. Yvon Chouinard in his introduction says, “My company, Patagonia, Inc., is an experiment.”
I love this quote. I think life is an experiment —as are business and leadership--and it’s a great philosophy to live by. When we try something new, we learn what works and what doesn’t. How alive I feel when I practice a sport and make a discovery, like during my surfing lessons! The water feels great, the view is pretty amazing, and it’s an experiment to see how each takeoff goes: will I be able to stand up? will I finally get it this time?
Starting a leadership program may feel the same way. Fortunately, a program that gives participants a chance to experiment can be a portal to better results. Sometimes leaders are surprised at how they finally are able to tackle a behavior they’ve been wanting to address or build a new skill. Yes, it feels awkward at the beginning. So I advise participants to be patient and practice, take a risk and try out the new behavior without judging themselves. It’s new. It might take a few tries--or maybe a lot of them!--before getting it right. Just like trying to surf.
Stop and Assess
“I took a dozen of my managers to Argentina, to the windswept mountains of the real Patagonia, for a walkabout. In the course of roaming around those wildlands, we asked ourselves why we were in business and what kind of business we wanted Patagonia to be . . . ” p. 61 Yvon Chouinard
The beauty of changing setting to assess where you are is invaluable. New settings, meeting different people, and experiencing different cultures open us up to other ways of knowing and thinking. This is one reason I like working with leaders offsite. It gives them a chance to step away, pause, and assess with other leaders what is working with their leadership and what could be improved.
Leaders all have strengths, and in group coaching they can share these strengths with their colleagues while also learning from them. This is similar to sports. In lessons with fellow surfers this past year, we developed a camaraderie that deepened our learning; we were able to share feedback, successes, and failures, learning from each other’s experiments.
I also experienced this kind of camaraderie earlier this year during a Telos Institute four-day Grand Canyon hiking and camping trip. These leadership trips can really deepen bonds among participants, giving participants opportunities to challenge themselves physically as well as to reflect upon their careers, leadership, and life.
Decide What’s Next
The New Year 2019 is upon us, and I’m ready for more experimentation with the leaders I will be working with as well as with the sports I continue to learn (ocean swims, running, triathlons, and surfing). What about you? What will you experiment with this year?
If you are ready in 2019 to keep learning, grow, and deepen your leadership, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org visit my website at www.desormeauxconsulting.com.