The Leader who Smells Dead Mice
I smell dead mice everywhere. It all started with a dead mouse in the wall.
I thought I smelled a dead mouse in the grocery store. I bought a hot dog for lunch and caught a whiff of dead mouse. I’m not sure, but a mouse might have died in my pickup truck.
Worry and stink:
I worry about smelling dead mice and that makes me think I smell dead mice.
Worry looks for stink and finds it, even when the world smells good.
My friends have dead mice in their wall cavities, too. Or at least I think I smelled something bad.
One thing is everything:
When you smell something that you don’t like, you start sniffing for it. “What’s that smell?”
Unresolved frustration, problems, and disappointment are like stink in your mustache. Everywhere you go, stink follows.
#1. Worry excites your stink-sniffer.
You don’t want to miss problems, so you put your sniffer to the ground.
You eventually find stink when you sniff for it.
#2. When a stink gets in your snout, everything stinks.
#3. Stink returns.
Your snout justifies itself, “I knew there was a problem!”
If it doesn’t stink now, it will!
#4. You stink.
YOU stink, if you’re always sniffing FOR stink.
No one likes it when you show up with your stink-sniffing snout. Go away!
#5. Sniffing sets a tone.
You smell this afternoon what you smelled this morning.
The more you think about stink, the more you smell it.
Lousy leaders ignore pleasant fragrance and constantly sniff for stink.
Your face contorts into a rotten pumpkin when you smell stink. Is that how you want to show up for others, with a rotten pumpkin face?
How much stink-sniffing is useful for leaders?
Dan, you have an amazing nose for metaphors … and malodorous truth!! This post is unforgettable!!!
Thank you! This is exactly the message that I needed to read this morning!
Great message here. If you look for it, you will eventually find it, “look I was right…”. AND if you look for it, even when you don’t have enough information to accurately assess a situation, you will fill those information gaps with it, and all the emotions that come with what you are looking for. Thanks Dan!
Thanks! So true. We see what we look for and validate what we believe.
Mary Kay (of the cosmetic company) is quoted as saying “If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.”
Either the devil is in the detail, or God is.
Good crafting makes sure the devil is not, and that God is.
Good stewardship ensures that the devil doesn’t get in, and God stays.
Good leadership checks itself off by dialogue, “Something stinks here. What is it? How do we fix it?”
Good fellowship/Good followership says, “I doubt it. What do you mean?” (It does NOT affirm or deny as a reactionary response.)
The great leader won’t tear the cathedral down hunting for mice. Great followers won’t do it for him/her, either.
Thanks Rurbane. Good stewardship protects. Thats the challenging message I’m taking from your comment. If you are always smell dead mice, what can you do to prevent them from getting in, or catch them before they do damage. The latter seems proactive. The former seems reactive.
“Is it just me?”
Is the best defense against our own predispositions.
Always expect to hear, “Yeah, it is.”
Is it me? YES!
That’s an eye opener.
One needs to carry their mental deodorizer for these occasions 👍
Thanks Ken. Or a scrub brush… But I guess it doesn’t work to try NOT to think about something.
This is an interesting Post, I have a person at a non-profit that believes I’m a stinking mouse! Me!
…. It colors how he see’s me, but also puts me on a defensive footing and really steals much of the enjoyment from my work/ service there.
I’m much more comfortable in the smells-good roles of life, and spend considerable time trying to understand how to best go forward.
Thanks Ken. That inner critic is a stinker. Forward-focus helps silence him.
Excellent way to make a point! I will share this metaphor with my friend who worries a lot.
That was truly entertaining and effective! Thanks for the giggle and the lesson.
Well done…and so true!
Stink truth #2 can ruin the most positive of circumstances. If a leader has stink in their snout, then everything going through is covered in that smell. All negatives and positives. I’ve worked with a manager who went through a time where everything he smelled, stunk. One lesson I can take away from that situation to tie into this post is that no matter what, a leader has to be able to discern the “good” and bad stink. Once a leader goes down that path, it can be hard for them to break that habit.