She pulled back the string, drawing the arrow with it. Poised, muscles flexing under the tension of the bow, her eye focused along the arrow pinpointing the yellow centre of the target. Holding steady, eye and arrow fixed on the target his fingertips released the string sending the arrow to pierce the target.
He glanced at the ball on the floor, he glanced up to the posts. The crowd dropped silent, breathing on hold. The pre striking ritual began. Up at the posts, down at the ball. Up at the posts down at the ball. Three clear strides and the ball was struck, soaring high with one aim and one purpose.
She, bounced the ball three times to the court, each time catching to test the spring of the ball but her eyes focused on the line the other side of the net. Her opposition swaying, trying to focus on the ball. Launching the ball air-bound and springing from her toes she brought the racket down with a sweeping action forcing the ball towards its target close to the line and forcing her opponent wide.
Sport is littered with comparisons that help us understand a crucial aspect of leadership. Consider the common thread to all of these. Each sportsman or woman completely focused on the target or goal. Whatever happens in the game, whatever setbacks, the ultimate focus is centred completely on the target. Each point scored helping towards the end goal.
Leading in new territory, areas not tackled before still have the one crucial element that the end goal is clear. Whatever you face, it is the goal that is the ultimate aim.
The skill of ’Centred Creativity’ is the fourth of the 4 key skills we need as leaders at this time.
The first part of this is ‘centred’, we need to be centred on the ultimate aim and to be clear on what is your aim or purpose. This helps you know your true North when times of uncertainty or new territory comes. We will come across all sorts of new issues and the course we take, even if it is a meander, is to ultimately get to our core purpose of why we do what we do.
The second part that we need is creativity.
You may have heard the rather unusual phrase, ‘there is more than one way to skin a cat’. I tried to do an internet search to find a root meaning that was not about killing small kitties. But sadly no! The etymology of the phrase and purpose it still exits today is to encourage people to consider different options not just one set way.
When we face a new situation, a challenge, a problem, we can tend to binary about a solution. It’s either this or that, yes or no. But we need to be creative. List the different options. Don’t hold back and don’t be tempted to cross off ones that you think won’t work or can’t afford. List them all. Then you can evaluate their merits and disadvantages. As you evaluate you consider hybrid ideas, where bits of one idea that works can be mixed with bits of another. Consider also whether the solution lies not in one idea but in trying a couple. For example, when companies consider cost-cutting they just think of redundancies. I remember reading of the company that faced with making cuts discussed it with their staff and the staff decided that a better way was for everyone to take 2 weeks unpaid leave it saved the same money and looked after one another. They had a faithful staff for many years afterwards. Check out my proforma on my website (Problem Solving Process) to help you evaluate the situation thoroughly and then consider the ideas. https://www.everydayleader.co.uk/everydaybookresources
It’s a challenge, encountering uncharted territory, but focusing on the end goal and looking at creative ways through is the way to go!
This is the fourth in the ‘Leading in a new territory series of blogs.
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