Learning to lead
A leader with a credible plan inspires confidence. By way of contrast, a leadership team with a deeply flawed plan or no plan at all isn’t going to be leading for long.
Years ago, the Rhinoceros Party had a brilliant plan to build a ramp on the Rocky Mountains to reduce the consumption of gasoline and presumably save the environment. How would that work? Well, people living in western Canada would then be able to get in their cars and coast from coast to coast.
As I recall, another plank in their platform was to train millions of grasshoppers, a.k.a grainhoppers, to carry prairie grain to the coastal ports. This creative transportation system was devised to counter the excessive fees charged by powerful railroad barons.
Yes, this was all a big joke back then. And no, this comical political party didn’t get any votes. An illustration nonetheless that it is very difficult to lead without a plan that people feel inclined to follow.
Dealing with problems
Leading involves, among other things, taking significant action in an attempt to improve an undesirable situation. To point out the obvious, it is also usually assumed that the chosen action will be strategic and well thought out. Leaders are seldom called upon to wait around, staring out their office windows day after day, while naively hoping that everything will work out. But at the same time, a hasty and haphazard decision – a shot from the hip – is rarely well received or what is really required.
Leadership is not for the faint of heart. National problems, organizational issues, and personal roadblocks are often pressing and complex. In such a context, leading the way required a large amount of research, planning, praying, and an ability to weigh various options in a short period of time. More often than not, a cliff of some sort is visible on the horizon; the clock is loudly ticking; time is running out; difficult decisions must be made. And somebody has to make them.
As the old saying goes: “There are those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.”
Again, being a part of a leadership team requires hard work; it is not an easy task. People in leadership positions are often expected to act quickly and wisely in the best interests of others. If only the best decision was always immediately obvious! Inviting a variety of perspectives is often helpful. But based on my own experience, routinely criticizing what has been proposed is much easier than putting together a new proposal.
When the pressure is on and people all around are looking for action, it may seem like any old course of action will do. Thus the ongoing temptation to appear to be taking appropriate action without doing much that is necessarily truly helpful in the long run.
But whether you are responsible to lead a nation, an organization, a family, or simple yourself, the challenge is the same. First of all, you must identify the most pressing problem you face and put together a plan to deal with it. Positive action is required where it matters the most; you can’t fix everything. Second, it is a good idea to make a point of not doing anything grandiose or downright ridiculous when it comes to finances.
Planning and policy perfection is impossible to obtain from everyone’s perspective. But ego-inflating, utopian, and crackpot ideas are a little more obvious: they can be spotted from a mountain top and even from outer space. With this in mind, it will come as no surprise to be reminded that many people, nations, and organizations urgently need to find a way to balance their budgets and begin to pay off their debt. This problem isn’t merely over in Europe or confined to Washington, D.C.
As millionaires rack up their millions, billionaires pay interest on billions, and trillionaires borrow yet another trillion, many ordinary and average individuals get themselves deeper and deeper into debt. One result of all of this collective digging is that at some point the hole will be so deep that it will be impossible to ever get out.
And what are we all going to do down there?
Financial mismanagement has a way of putting the brakes on a healthy human potential movement, bringing it to a screeching halt. Many institutions, individuals, and empires fail to become all that they were intended to be in part because of a lack of funds. But at the same time, seeking wise financial advice is one way to attempt to reverse this trend and begin to deal with the damage.
Learning to manage your own finances, putting together a solid financial plan, is a good way to prepare to develop your own potential and the potential of many other people.
© Career & Life Direction 2012. All rights reserved.