Friday, May 12, 2017

live from new york

I am sitting in the aroma espresso bar at the corner of Church and Barclay, and from the window I can see the towering spire atop One World Trade Center...I am watching hundreds of people from across the globe walking in front of me...buses, bicycles, and cars are zooming up and down the street...and I am sipping on an americano waiting for a Concordia University Texas alumnus to join me in about an hour.  I LOVE NEW YORK CITY!

And as I sit here thinking about leadership, the idea of confident humility keeps crossing my mind.  As I walked up to the One World Trade Center building earlier this morning, I was reminded of how tall those two buildings were early in the morning of September 11, 2001...and how they were reduced to nothing just a few hours later.  I was reminded of how confident people were that morning, walking the very streets I was now on...and how their lives were turned upside down just a few hours later.  I was reminded of how life changed for all of us on that day, changing the way we thought about travel, safety, and war...and how, almost 16 years later, people continue to live their lives in a manner that moves them forward toward their goals.

So what about confident humility helps to define leadership?  Here are a few thoughts for this Friday morning from New York:

  • leaders will get to that place where everything seems to be aligned and life is grand...and it can be at that very moment that things change.  Never get too comfortable and be prepared for whatever might be coming next.
  • sometimes everything seems to be falling apart and the organization looks like it is moving one step forward and three steps backward...and tomorrow will be another day.  There is always a chance to regroup and start again, and sometimes the very struggle leaders face is the genesis of the greatness that might be coming next.
  • people will often enter into a conversation believing they are right and have the answers needed to solve the problem...and it is at this point one should step back, understand they do not know everything, and re-enter into the conversation with a sense of humility.  They may be right AND they could be wrong.  
  • leaders are often told (and often believe) that they should have all the answers.  It is at that moment when leaders need to look around and ask for help...and not only from others in leadership roles.  It might be the very person sitting next to you that can provide the solution you are looking for.
  • walking (and leading) alone can be very lonely...and it is easy to lose one's sense of direction without someone to help guide the way.  Submitting to the authority of another person (or at least their general thoughts and ideas) allows one to lead more confidently, knowing they are part of a team that makes life happen.
So many many much energy. That's the essence of New York (and leadership). There's nothing better than to be there and enjoy the place!

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