On Apples and Oranges
Understand leadership roles by comparing leadership to something else.
- Glue: connecting people to each other’s dreams.
- Curious monkey: seeking and creating clarity with courageous questions.
- Bulldozer: pushing through barriers by exploring resistance.
- Prognosticator: predicting the future by seeing patterns in the past.
- Coach: building winning teams.
- Road sign: calling for alignment.
- Instigator: challenging accepted beliefs and behaviors in order to confront stagnation and create something new.
- Guardian: protecting resources and progress.
- Mentor: sharing useful experiences that guide.
- Magic Eight Ball: making decisions.
- Police man: correcting, enforcing, and holding accountable for the common good.
- Partner: sharing the load by honoring and leveraging strengths.
- Magnet: attracting followers by focusing on shared values.
- Communicator: conveying relevant information that empowers.
- Servant: seeking the success of others.
Leader as curious monkey:
My favorite comparison is curious monkey. The trouble with questions is they create confusion, at least at first.
The path to clarity always begins with confusion.
Leaders step into confusion with courageous curiosity.
Curiosity is enabled by optimism, the belief in our ability to find answers. Fear, on the other hand, stifles curiosity because it pursues safety.
The false belief that leaders have all the answers prevents curiosity and propagates blind certainty. The most dangerous people are those who think they know but don’t. The result of false clarity is wasted time, effort, and resources.
Successful leaders shift from giving answers to asking questions.
What is your favorite comparison?
How would you complete, leader as ______?
I like to use metaphors with teams too. This team is like a _____. We want it to be more like a ________. Imagery gets people thinking.
Good point. We need to use metaphor and simile more often..
I, too, use metaphors to create a dialogue around a topic. It deepens both the thinking and understanding. The curious monkey is great. I also like the GLUE ….connecting people to each other’s dreams.
Happy Learning and Leading.
The GLUE is their why’s!!
Simon Sinek himself could not have said as well as you just did!!! Bravo!!!
Commence at once Starting with Why!!!!!
We have a world to change inspiring one mind at a time!!!!!
Good thing Gladwell says tipping point only 8 to 10%!!!!! Then the rest see the obvious and follow down the yellow brick road.
Horray and SALUTE to the early adapters, where would the followed go if not for us?
SP great stuff DR
Great stuff Dan!!!!!!
I like 6!!!
Remember Little Big Man?
Mule-Skinner that is what Custer called Dustin Hoffmans character.
Custer asked His Mule-Skinner if he ought to down into the valley and take his glorious victory?
MS told him something like, “general if you go down there they will slaughter all of you”.
Custer was too smart for MS’s advice wildly pontificating the reverse physchology attempt by his simple scout.
You know the rest of the story. Battle of the Little Big Horn they called it.
What idea in your head is your Little Big Horn?
People get stuck in what story they feel they like so they stick with it. Duh!! Love stories, business stories, god stories you name it people got stories.
Stories change but facts remain the same.
Why reevaluate, daily? Worlds a changing and has no bad feeling leaving u behind.
Kodak 1996. 140, 000 employees billion dollar company invents digital camera. Drunk on their success they laugh it off! Now bankrupt!
Some tweeting company not sure of the name. Think it was last year. Instagram I think. 13 employees sold to Facebook for a cool billon! Wakey wakey!!!
So stick your head in the sand and hold on to every old outdated beliefs you got if you wish.
Or use your brain and be flexible and adapt to what’s coming.
Either moving learning changing going forward or getting passed by. Staying in place not an option! There is my view of he valley General Custer, I suggest you get jiggy with where the world is going and find a way to go with it!
The Dude Abides!
Great movie Scott, excellent analogy.
A simple Moebius thinktrap is in Princess Bride with Vizzini’s ‘never go against a Scilian when death is on the line’ sequence… Inconceivable!
That is so GREAT!!!!!
I love that scene in The Princess Bride!!!
That actor with a slight lisp!!!!!!
Thank you for that!!!!
My name is Montigo Montoya you kill my father prepare to die!!!!
Can’t remember the first name but ya remember Mandy, right!!!! WAx on wax off!! Maybe Diego ?
Iago…and of course…..as….you….wish…..btw Scott, you don’t have six fingers do you!?
I like that: What idea in your head is your Little Big Horn. Thanks.
You are miraculously welcome!!!!
You’re waxing eloquent today. Love the mule-skinner illustration.. thanks
Yw Dan and thank you!
Just so excited to be alive and inspired and sober and clean and eternally grateful! Life is just grand!!
Now you’re talking.
That’s a real four bagger……….with the bases loaded.
I believe that could be an amen from the congregation!!!
Can I have another ?
SP thanks David
Great post, Dan! I like your image of the curious monkey. Confusion requires the presence and courage of a leader. Teams who are coasting along don’t require a leader at all. Teams who “follow systems” don’t require leaders. Just a rule book!
Well problem is Justin world is just a changing!
Ask those Kodak executives how following their rule book went for them. It is about following the RiGHT rulebook. Most effective rulebook whatever your ego needs to call it.
Being written now to live abundantly in the world that is coming. Stay with the old obsolete stuff, not good…ask ex Kodak employees.
Computer technology processing speed doubling every two years. Did you know. Bushman in Africa with an android phone has access to more info instantly than Bill Clinton did as President? Right now a hand held medical device for diagnosing health issues is being developed. Accurate and immediate. Wakey wakey!!!
More billonaires under or in their 30’s than at any other time in history. Things are changing and it is only gonna be bigger stuff quicker!
The old rules don’t apply we are entering a new technological age. Old rule books dump them ASAP.
Just letting you know Justin so if you ignore at least someone tried to help you see.
Check out Peter Diamandis. Book abundance. There is your rule book
Free videos on YouTube you. The connected works is just gonna operate with new rules
Exactly! Rule books become obsolete almost every day! It’s both frightening and exciting for those of us capable of working without them. We have to empower our teams to think for themselves and make successful decisions without a paper crutch.
Love how you poke at rule-following! Rules are safe and, of course, sometimes necessary. But, often rules are a crutch that dis-empowers people. Good call
Absolutely, Dan. It frustrates me when managers or senior leaders brag about the “systems” that put their organizations on auto-pilot. There’s no such thing in business! Just a slow and painful death.
Leader as . . . facilitator.
Leader as . . . enabler.
Thanks Scott… “enabler” makes me feel awkward. I believe in the goal of enabling but wonder if anyone can really enable another.
I know what you mean. I truly hesitated to use the word. I even double-checked it’s definition (the old English major in me) before using it — since it also has some negative connotations in today’s society.
By it’s classic definition, if you are an enabler you are someone who provides others with the means, knowledge, authority or opportunity to do something. That seems like a good thing for a leader to be able to do.
Magnet is a powerful one…lots to interpret.
Leader as a window sometimes and a mirror sometimes. With the analogous additions of being clear, transparent, reflective, visible, recognizing others and seeing oneself in others. On a micro level-that clarity is made up of individual grains of sand, in a state of constant flux.
Love window and mirror, Doc!
I recall being a mirror to a leader I was working with… they didn’t much like it! It irritated the heck out of them. I think if someone was a mirror to me… I might get irritated too. 🙂
If not a mirror could always go for a Johari window. 😉 ouch!
Solution to the johari “problem” is to ignore what others say! Easy! 🙂
Potter: Helping to shape a lump of clay into a vessle of purpose.
Like the idea of shaping but wonder about who decides what the ultimate shape is?
Leader as a coach fits in the most. Winning teams get created only with a mix of every other role that a leader has to play per your list. Teams will have to become champions first to ensure winning and the leader has a front role to take the onus of managing the current operations and ensuring the continuous success with collective wisdom & contributions.
It reflects the leadership style and the essential skills of a leader to tale the team along to meet the common goal.
I’m with you, Dr. Asher. I enjoy leader as coach. I think I over-rely on that strategy. But still think it has useful application.
#10. Sometimes you just have to take a crap-shoot; doing the best with info you have. Confidence and adaptability hone this nicely.
Glad you caught the tongue-n-cheek use of magic 8 ball. Cheers
Dan, really good!! I am a curious monkey I believe. There is nothing more powerful than a question. An answer can be limiting if it doesnt propell you to the next question – a better question!
Great point on how a good answer should lead to another, better, question. Sadly, answers often end thought, rather than creating it.
Metaphors such as this are fantastic ways to teach people all manner of concepts, I have used the ‘oranges and apples’ example to deliver study skills sessions on the ease of compare and contrast essays. I have also delivered sessions on leadership which asks the audience whether they are ‘Ants or Ducks’
I think I get the ants idea – busy or industrious. Or, perhaps doesn’t need lots of oversight.
I’m going to have to think about the leader as duck… 🙂
The duck at the head of the formation creates 71% less drag for the ones directly behind it, by being there it makes the work of other easier, also unlike the ants the ducks constantly change position therefore during the journey each duck leads and each duck follows.
Ants have also been seen in their thousands circling around tirelessly, until eventually they all die of exhaustion. It has been discovered that this is due to something interrupting the line, effectively leaving the ants leaderless. The tireless persistence (the very thing that many think of as their key strength) and the inability to critically assess the situation leads to their death when left leaderless.
I have a prezi on this that I am happy to share if you like
Thanks for the follow up. Love it.
My favorite was leader as curious monkey. The greatest leaders have a natural curiosity. They always want to know more, often to understand the connection between people and ideas. They use the technique of questioning to challenge others in their assumptions and to expand their thinking about new opportunities. How about leader as listener? A leader who truly listens will develop insight, which provides a more complete perspective of any situation.
I bookmark this as one of my favourite all-time posts! Fantastic discussion starters, ice breakers, mentoring and coaching stimulants. Thanks Dan!