Leadership: Like a Swan in the Rain
|Like a swan in the rain|
This image made me think of a conversation I had with a professor earlier that day. He told me about a conversation he heard about between two college presidents. The first president was early in his presidency; the second had been a president for many years. The young man asked the "veteran" for some words of wisdom to "make it" over the long haul. The veteran's response, "never waste a good crisis."
The comment was in reference to the financial collapse of 2008. The point the elder gentleman was trying to make, was that moments of crisis provide opportunities to introduce certain programs or ideas that if things were stable would have been ignored, or even worse, feared because of the potential of disrupting the status quo or marginal gains the school was experiencing.
This caused me to think broadly about leadership. The best leaders, at a minimum, are able to maintain "normal swan business." The best leaders use crises to create something.
|Gordon College in Argentina|
|Aaron Trigg in Argentina|
There has been 46,000,000 books written on leadership (that's a rough estimate). In fact certain authors, it seems, exclusively publish on leadership (not to name any names...).
|That Maxwell guy sure knows a lot about leadership...|
|Pretty simple, right?|
I honestly think the topic can be summarized into one phrase: "Keep calm and carry on."
I love the TV show Friday Night Lights. In fact, I have spent the last 10 months trying to convince my wife that we should move to Texas just so our children (which we don't currently have) can grow up playing football. I even wrote a short story based on the movie while I was in college (I mentioned the story in a previous blog post). I love football and I think the show's producers, actors, and writers did a great job (Aside from season 2, which was awful. Stupid writer's strike...).
I like the show, But I love Coach Taylor.
Coach Taylor is equal parts Ghandi, Vince Lombardi, your grandfather, General Patton and Abraham Lincoln. What makes him special is his unflappable ability to lead. He handles everything from his team playing for a state championship (which in Texas holds about the same weight as a war), to one of his players killing a guy (Seriously. I'm telling you season 2 is a little over the top). But he basically always leads well; and does so by being the constant. I so strongly champion Friday Night Lights and Coach Taylor that I feel secure endorsing, for the first time, a product on this blog. In fact, if you own any John Maxwell books, sell them and buy these DVD's.
My old basketball coach used to quote General Patton after a sloppy, defensive game. Apparently Patton, at the conclusion of an intense and bloody battle, looked across the field and said, "I love it. God help me, I do love it so." Frankly, I think this is a little twisted, and I hate applying war metaphors to daily life (yes, you Kellen Winslow), but there is some truth in this. True leaders, when the circumstances demand it, do just that - lead.