Further Reflections on Leadership Lessons from Rip Tides…

In a previous post I spoke of Carl’s near miss at the beach… It’s such a rich story, I want to unpack another implication for leadership as follows…

Humility and respect for what “we don’t know we don’t know”: Carl is an accomplished adventurer and in great physical shape, so pushing out into the waves that June day was not a reckless act for him…What he didn’t know was the nature of rip tides – those fierce undertow currents that claim lives each year by exhausting and dragging unsuspecting and uninformed swimmers to their deaths.  This information was not unknowable – as his teenage sons quickly told him – in fact the solution is simple: swim parallel to the beach, out of the strong localized current and swim to terra firma … no drama, end of story.

Questions for Leadership…

How can we remain awake to the realms of what we don’t know we don’t know? To read the cryptic early signs that signal bigger challenges to come so that we might avert them?

Do we choose to surround ourselves with those who know and see things differently….and in so doing expand our own logic, views and criteria?

When we’re in the midst of a struggle, how do we drop the paddle or shift our response early enough in the game to avoid disaster…perhaps making way for a simpler, new, more elegant way to emerge?

bob devlin
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