Posts Tagged With: Metaphors

Hike Leadership Metaphors Forward: Sunflowers

One of my favorite sights, as I hike in the summer months, is the sunflower. They are so tall and bright, and I am always struck with their majestic appearance. Somehow there are a source of encouragement and seem to reflect the power of the sun itself. I think the sunflower makes a great picture of an organizational leader. Van Gough painted a series of works of this fantastic flower, so here are six facts about sunflowers that help to paint this leadership metaphor.

#1 There are 70 different species of sunflowers. The most common is the bright yellow flower with brown centers, but others are copper, red, brown, orange, and bi-colored. So, effective organizational leaders come in all varieties and colors. Leadership is not determined by the color of the skin or the gender of the individual. The varieties of experiences, backgrounds, giftedness, talents, and strengths enable many individuals to raise up as sunflower leaders.

#2 The sunflower is one of the fastest-growing plants. It can grow 8 to 12 feet in 5 to 6 months. The effective leader is always growing and is growing as fast as he/she can grow. A leader is a life-long learner always striving to know more and to go deeper into the understanding of his/her ministry. 

#3 The sunflower can grow just about anywhere because of its adaptability to soils from sand to clay and a strong tolerance to dry soils. Two key characteristics of every good leader are adaptability and tolerance. The old saying, “Bloom where you are planted,” seems to capture the parallel between the flower and the leader. The soils of life might not always be rich and moist and conducive to growth, but the effective leader adapts and makes the best of every opportunity for growth.

#4 A sunflower needs at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight every day to reach its maximum potential. They grow tall in order to reach as far above other plant life as possible in to gain even more access to sunlight. An effective leader recognizes his/her need for truth and wisdom. A leader must spend time, lots of time, the majority of his/her time being exposed to the light of truth and integrity and honesty and understanding.

#5 A single sunflower can hold 2,000 seeds, and those seeds are filled with vitamins and minerals. The seeds are high in energy containing 584 calories per 100-gram serving. An effective leader is always looking to multiply his/her leadership by raising up others around him/her. The leader is looking to plant seeds and cultivate a harvest-field full of other sunflower leaders filled with talents and abilities that can change their world.

#6 The is a tea that is made from sunflower leaves that is effective in treating fevers. Another tea made from the flower itself is good for treating malaria. The crushed leaves of the flower are used in many medicines for sores, swelling, spider and snake bites. A good leader might not have all the answers to every question, but he/she should be ministering to the needs and concerns of others. Hurting people need sunflower leaders.

For more facts and insights into sunflowers that might add to this metaphor, check out the following websites: 70 Interesting Sunflower Facts To Brighten Up Your Day | Facts.net and 50 Amazing Facts About Sunflowers (shesaidsunflower.com)

Sunflower photos – The Rough Collection

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Hike Leadership Metaphor Forward – Recipe

My wife is a great cook. I watch her do her thing in her kitchen without getting too close as to disturb the creative juices and the momentum of the delicious smells flowing from pots and pans. Once I asked her how she got so good, and she shared that she started by following recipes, and then over time the recipes became second nature, and now she just flows with the fixing of food (that is my alliteration for the day). However, if she wants to try something new, a recipe appears on the kitchen counter and provides the protocol for perfect preparation (sorry the P’s just happened).

An organizational leader is so much like the recipe. Let me share what I mean by mixing three leadership ingredients together to bake this metaphor.

#1. A recipe typically starts with the list of ingredients needed to make the dish. It is very specific and detailed: 1 ½ cups uncooked rice; 3 cups chicken broth; 2 teaspoons margarine; 5 cups thinly sliced or bite-size pieces assorted vegetables; 2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese….. An effective organizational leader needs to know all the materials and resources needed to accomplish a task or a project. Nothing can be more discouraging than to run out of an essential resource halfway through or worse yet when the project is in its final phase. The leader must ensure that the specific needs are met with the precise materials needed. Having to sit and wait because the leader failed to be prepared is not a recipe for success

#2 The recipe provides the steps of execution. Rinse, boil in a 2-quart saucepan, reduce heat, cover and simmer, stir, sprinkle, All the needed steps of actions are listed for the novice or experienced chef. A good organizational leader understands and communicates the steps needed to accomplish the mission of the organization. I am not advocating micro-management or detailed mandates, rather I am emphasizing the big-picture steps. Assigning the right managers to the right tasks, creating a timeline that prevents train wrecks and traffic jams, and prioritizing organizational flow so that the cart does not find itself in front of the horses. Just as a recipe sometimes allows for flexibility and substitutions (replace 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour; use chocolate pudding instead of vanilla pudding), so leaders need to be creative and flexible in adapting the steps toward the goal, but the basic recipe (mission) should not be compromised.

#3 The recipe is careful to communicate how the chef is to combine the ingredients. Sometimes it is as simple as, put all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. But most of the recipes call for a more sequential and strategic combination. Melt margarine in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat; add chopped garlic and cook for 30 seconds; stir in vegetables; cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently; etc. The organizational leader needs to be a master at combining the resources at the right time and in the right sequence to optimize the effectiveness of the company. Mixing all the ingredients (people, budget, programs, projects) together in the unique culture and climate of a particular organization can be challenging, but the leader, just like the recipe, coordinates the blending and mixing of all the elements to produce a delicious meal.   

Photos: Check out the picture and the recipe for Juicy Meatballs at Juicy Meatball Recipe (VIDEO) – NatashasKitchen.com; Ingredients: The Rough Collection

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Hike Leadership Metaphors Forward – Pioneers

I love the frontiersmen of the late 1700s and early 1800s – Men like Daniel Boone (1734-1820), Simon Kenton (1755-1836), Davy Crockett (1786-1836), and Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman (1774 – 1845), but when I think of the word “Pioneer,” the wagon trains on the Oregon Trail in the 1830s and 1840s come to my mind. I remember playing an early computer game called The Oregon Trail and I also remember how many times my character died in route. Just imagine yourself as a pioneer headed for Oregon with the hopeful promises of open plains and lush farmlands but with 2,000 miles of hard travel and danger ahead of you.  

It wasn’t until 1836 that the first wagons were used on the trek from Missouri to Oregon. A missionary party headed by Marcus and Narcissa Whitman bravely set out to reach the Willamette Valley. The Whitmans were forced to abandon their wagons 200 miles short of Oregon, but they demonstrated that determined pioneers could go west by wheeled travel.

In the spring of 1843, a wagon train left Independence, Missouri, destined for Oregon. The train consisted of nearly 1,000 people and despite a mighty chorus of naysayers and doubters, the so-called “Great Migration” made it safely to Oregon. The train comprised more than 100 wagons with a herd of 5,000 oxen and cattle trailing behind. The vast majority of the pioneers on the trail survived and reached their destination, but some died from dangers like drowning in river crossings, the accidental falling off mules or horses, and contracting diseases like cholera, dysentery, measles, mumps, and typhoid fever.

The mindset and the bravery of the Pioneer reminds me of the characteristics of an effective leader. In this metaphor, let me fill six wagons with comparisons.

The first wagon is filled with the Spirit of Adventure. The pioneer leader needs to embrace the thrill of adventure and must be willing to enter into places of the unknown. Much of leadership is walking new paths and blazing new trails. Adversity awaits but the effective leader realizes that there is no adventure without adversity. When adversity comes the effective leader embraces that adversity and makes the most of the challenge. The leader, like the Pioneer, must move with caution and care, but must be willing to run into the unknown with purpose and vision. 

The second wagon is packed with Calculated Risks. The Pioneers put everything they owned, placed all their dreams for the future, and loaded their children into a covered wagon. Then they left the security of an established town for the promise of a new land and a new start. Organizational leaders are often faced with risk. Financial risks, new program risks, relationship risks, delegation risks, failure risks, etc. Leadership decisions not always based on the knowns – they are sometimes reached on the thin ice of the unknowns involving risks of personal income, a comfortable environment, a solid place of security, and an established professional reputation. Leaders take risks on the hiring and promoting personnel, advertising and outreach, new products or services, and the challenges of new ideas. Please note: the 1843 Pioneers were careful and strategic in their risk taking – they followed an established pathway and the wagon train involved 1,000 people (safety in numbers). They did not travel with total abandonment or with a haphazard mindset. Pioneer-minded leaders take risks, but they do so with as much preparation and understanding as possible.  

The third wagon is jammed with a Vision for a better future. Pioneer-minded leaders see tomorrow, next week, next year, and five years down the road differently than most folks. They have big dreams that fill the horizon. They experience a calling that pulls them with excitement and urgency. They can see the adventure of the future and they are driven by a deep desire to be part of it. These leaders are not just okay with the potential change of the future, they are energized by it, they are all in, they have their wagon packed and ready to hit the road.  

The fourth wagon is loaded with Determination. The Pioneers understood the challenges of the trail and yet they were dedicated to reach the destination. They knew that the journey was going to take months and yet they had the tenacity to persevere the daily adversities in order to see the promises ahead. The path held 2,000 miles of rugged terrain and dangerous territory but their determination kept their eyes on the prize and feet moving forward.   

The fifth wagon bulges with Confidence. One of my favorite reality series is The History Channel’s Alone. Ten individuals are dropped off by a helicopter in some isolated place (like Patagonia) with the goal of surviving in the wilderness. They have no food and no shelter. They are allowed to choose a limited number of items to bring with them (axe, saw, fire starter, tarp, etc), but the list is extremely small. What amazes me is the confidence that every participant expresses. They all begin the season with the resolve of spending an entire year in the wilderness. That is the pioneer spirit: the spirit not only to survive but to thrive. The leader with a pioneer mindset has the confidence and motivation to move forward. There is no turning back, the only choice is to accomplish the mission, the only option is to follow the vision.   

The sixth wagon in the train overflows with Flexibility. Just like the Pioneers that headed west, the leader must learn how to bend but not break. The wagon train was faced with mountains, rivers, drought, dust, and storms and they needed to dig deep into their creativity of problem solving. Giving up was not on the table – they needed to move forward. Today’s leader needs to learn how to become elastic and not get bent out of shape; how to adapt to every situation without losing the message; how to change the packaging without compromising the quality and integrity of the ministry. If things change, be flexible; if things break, be adaptable.

Today’s leader is very much like a Pioneer. Hook up your wagons and join the adventure.

Photo: Pioneers – Kids Discover

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Hike Leadership Metaphors Forward: The Overture

Over the years as a high school administrator, I had the privilege of participating in several pit orchestras for high school musicals and was able to the play one of the woodwind scores for numerous Broadway shows (Music Man, Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady, Annie, The King and I, Hello Dolly, and You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown). I loved these musicals – they were challenging musically, but the energy of the show made the music come alive with meaning and purpose. Having spent many hours in practice and performances, the music began to bounce around in my mind, and I found myself whistling and humming the music throughout the day. The more I have reflected on those good days in the orchestra pit playing music with my colleagues, the more I have appreciated the contagious nature of the Broadway tunes. This leads me to my next metaphor of leadership as I compare the role of the leader to the role of the Overture in the show. Let me share with you four key similarities – Bb, C, Dm, and G just to keep the metaphor going..

Bb, the Overture is the first piece of music that the audience hears. One conductor that I worked with, encouraged us to warm up and be ready for the first downbeat, but he requested that we not play of the music of the show in our warm-ups. We could play scales or pop tunes or Christian tunes, but nothing from the performance. Why? Because he wanted to audience to be introduced to the music of the show through the Overture itself. The Overture has a little taste of all the melodies in the show. It was a grand introduction of what was to follow. In some ways the Overture is the musical face of the story to come. And so, the leader is the face of the organization. The leader must know every aspect of the company and be able to sing a little bit about all the programs, products and services of the institution.  

C, because the Overture is a medley of songs, the style of music changes several times in quick succession and the dynamics move from a soft, sweet love song to the allegro of a chase scene or a march of victory and then quickly to a quiet lullaby. So an effective leader must change tempos and dynamics often during the day. From encourager to listener; from a personal conversation to a group report, from decision maker to a confrontational phone call, from a tender moment of appreciation to the complaints of the disgruntled. The leader not only know every tune, but he/she knows when to change his pace, and his place, and his face.

Dm, the composer/arranger of the Overture casts the melody line from instrument to instrument as the different songs are highlighted. The brass may start the Overture with an attention-getting flair, then the strings or even a violin solo may take over with a sweet song of love, flowed by the woodwinds dancing with a humorous melody of mischief. As each instrument adds its voice and takes the lead, there is a capturing of the entire show in the first 10 minutes of the performance. The effective leader realizes that leadership is not all about the leader. Each member of the team (as the orchestral instruments) must play his/her part for the organization to be successful and grow. The actual role of leader can change from team member to team member depending on the situation. Leader”ship” is a dynamic interactive process of creating, communicating and transforming vision into reality. One leader cannot accomplish that process alone, but with a band of instrumental people, the organization can embrace the entire show. He wise leader allows and encourages every team member to take the lead as his/her strength is needed. The organizational melody should move from member to member as the entire mission is accomplished.

G, the Overture is filled with transitions. Some of the transitions are smooth and stay in the same key, others are abrupt, changing keys, tempo, and time signatures (from 3/4 to 6/8 to 4/4). Before the audience gets too comfortable listening to one tune, the Overture switches gears and introduces another melody. Variety is at the core of the Overture. Effective leaders are aware that transitions can (and will) come at a moment’s notice. There are times when the leader transitions from one responsibility to another without losing a beat as the day just flows between one setting to another. But the unexpected never gives much notice and the leader is often required to quickly change perspectives and step into a different rhythm of decision making. The day, the week, the life of a leader is filled with transitions. The key for the leader (and the orchestra) is to embrace the transitions and make incredible music in the midst of the changes.

The next time you listen to a Broadway show’s Overture… wait, you never have listened to an overture? you don’t like Broadway musicals?….give it a try; “Annie” is a good one to enjoy. So, anyway, the next time you listen to a Broadway show’s Overture, notice the transitions, the instrumentation, and the amazing way that all the tunes are woven together to give the audience an exciting picture of what awaits.

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Hike Leadership Metaphors Forward: Nucleoplasm

I have been a happy participant in several freindly,summer, water balloon battles. I have four children who, when younger, were my cohorts in epic wars in the back yard. Part of the fun is filling the balloons with water and getting the ammunition ready for the wet battle ahead. My wife was the ammunition expert who supplied the majority of the water-filled hand grenades. We would head to the backyard with small buckets filled with these wiggly, balloons filled with water ready to explode on contact.

Now, I am not a biologist and I do not want to over simplify this metaphor, but imagine that same water balloon on a microscopically small scale, even down to the size of a single cell! Picture that balloon as the nucleus of the cell – the control center where many of the key processes to sustain and perpetuate life occur. The balloon is a picture of the nucleus and the water is the nucleoplasm.

It is not a coincidence that organism and organization come from the same root idea. A single-cell organism and an organization have much in common. As we relate the organization to a cell, the nucleus of the organization is the control center that contains many of the key processes that sustain and perpetuate the mission of the organization. This metaphor then paints the leader as the nucleoplasm. Let’s quickly examine four of the main functions of the nucleoplasm and hopefully the metaphor will make a little more sense.

#1. The nucleoplasm helps cushion the nucleus and therefore shields it from negative outside influences. This is a great picture of the role of leadership. The leader is often called upon to be the face of the organization and deal with complaints, negative conflicts, angry confrontations, and points of accountability. If and when attacks or misunderstandings occur, the leader is able to cushion the organization or the team or an individual by intervening with negotiation, counseling, and wisdom. The leader can quiet the situation, bring peace without involving the entire team. The leader is often a buffer to the disgruntled, a pillow that can catch the angry words of others, a voice of reason in emotional angst.

#2. The nucleoplasm preserves the common shape of the nucleus. This is another avenue of protection. The nucleoplasm enables the stability of the shape of the cell. In essence it assists in maintaining the integrity of the cell itself. Effective leaders have learned how not to get bent out of shape, but to be flexible enough to maintain the consistency and reliability of the organization. As the leader moves and shifts within the organization and provides attention where areas are being stretched and challenged, the leader is able to maintain the integrity of the organization. 

#3. The nucleoplasm helps sustain the form and formation of the nucleus. The nucleoplasm contains many enzymes which are essential for the strength of the DNA.  The leader is one of the keys to keeping the entire organization on mission. The leader must strive to sustain the basic purpose (the why do we exist question) of the organization. The identity of the team must never be in doubt as the leader continually communicates the reason for its existence, the imperative of its mission, the importance of its goals. So, the leader must live, breath, and bleed the DNA of the organization. 

#4 Nucleoplasm plays a significant role in the transportation of materials that are essential to cell metabolism and function. An organization leader holds the critical responsibility to see that the organization has all the essentials needed to maintain and grow in the accomplishment of its mission and vision. Emotional (team moral), physical (team resources and materials), spiritual (team culture), and financial needs (team budget) must be evaluated and maintained if effectiveness is to be anticipated. The best leaders see the big picture in each one of the areas and “transports the materials” needed to the nucleus of the organization.

I know I could have just used the water balloon as the metaphor, but it didn’t sound as intellectual and it didn’t start with the letter “N.” On a more serious note: there are some interesting scientific elements of nucleoplasm that a water balloon just does not possess.

Photos: Water Balloons – Just be happy!: Water Balloons (justbehappylife.com); Nucleoplasm – nucleus.jpg (500×485) (bp.blogspot.com)         

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Hike Leadership Metaphors Forward – Millipedes

A leader is like a millipede!? How disgusting – are you kidding? What kind of metaphor is that?

I know it sounds a little bizarre but hang with me for just a little while. You have to admit that the millipede is one of the most interesting looking bugs in all of nature. They might not have a thousand feet, but they sure look like they do. They might not be very dangerous, but they look like there are. The more I have investigated these unusual creatures, they more they remind me of effective leaders. Let me share five descriptive characteristics of the millipede leader.

#1. Millipedes do not have thousands of legs (as their name would suggest), but some rare species can have 750 legs. The most common species have between 80 and 400 legs. Millipedes have two pairs of legs attached to each segment of its body. Millipedes undergo a process called anamorphic development. Each time a millipede molts, it adds more body segments and legs. 

This is such a powerful point of comparison to leadership. Effective leaders don’t have 80-100 legs, but most millipede leaders have 80-100 things they must accomplish every week (I know, it seems like that many every day). Quality leadership requires an organization and structure to address every one of those responsibilities. Sometimes the legs are meetings, sometimes delegation, other situations require immediate decisions, others involve networking, personal connections, and building positive relationships. The leader needs to utilize all of his/her gifts, talents, and skills to accomplish his/her goals. And notice that the millipede grows as it molts, adding more legs. What a great picture of experience. The leader must learn through the experiences of life, must grow as a result of victories and failures alike, and must maintain a teachable spirit in order to grow in knowledge and wisdom.

#2 A millipede’s back is covered by hardened plates called tergites, but its underside is soft and vulnerable. Millipedes aren’t fast, so they cannot outrun their predators. Instead, when a millipede feels it is in danger, it will coil its body into a tight spiral, protecting its belly.

The organization leader needs to be open and vulnerable. His/her heart of appreciation and compassion must be obvious. But the leader needs to develop tergites of integrity, honesty, and consistency. When the attacks come, the millipede leader must coil tight against the tergites and find protection while maintaining his/her soft disposition and vulnerability. Paul talks about the armor of God (Ephesians 6) and the need to “put on” the tergite-like plates of the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the belt of truth, and the shield of faith.

#3 Millipedes are fairly docile critters. They don’t bite. They can’t sting. And they don’t have pincers to fight back. But millipedes do carry secret chemical weapons. Some millipedes, for example, have stink glands (called ozopores) from which they emit a foul-smelling and awful tasting compound to repel predators. The chemicals produced by certain millipedes can burn or blister the skin if you handle them.

The organizational leader should be known for peace and harmony. Effective leaders are not described by the nastiness of their bite, or their ability to use stinging words, or to clamp on the ideas of others with crushing pinchers of discouragement. At the same time, millipede leaders are not so docile that they are easily moved. Their approach may be much more defensive than offensive as they create an environment and culture that will repel predators. 

A good leader might cause a bad taste in an opponent’s mouth or an awareness of getting burned as the leader graciously makes his/her point. A leader’s ozopores must be sweet smelling truth but truth can sting and make those who attempt to use deception quite uncomfortable.  

#4 Millipedes live long lives. Most arthropods have short life spans, but millipedes aren’t your average arthropods. They’re surprisingly long-lived. The tenure of an impactful leaders often bridges many years. Even when they leave an organization, the legacy left behind continues to shape and direct the mission of the institution. Millipedes might not be flashy or fast but they demonstrate the motto “slow and steady wins the race.” The effectiveness of many great leaders reflects this same approach to their long-term goals and their strategies for transforming their vision into reality.

#5 There are about 12,000 different species of millipedes! Millipedes are found on every continent in the world (except Antarctica). I love these two facts because they point to the existence of great leaders around the world. There are so many good leadership styles and practices and approaches and mindsets. All leaders do not have to come from the same cookie-cutter factory. I believe these facts are calling you to be yourself. Find out what works best for you as a leader and strive to strengthen and perfect your giftedness. 

Resources:

10 Fascinating Facts About Millipedes (thoughtco.com)

Millipedes – Facts, Information & Habitat (animalcorner.org)

Millipedes – 10 facts that we find interesting – Africa Geographic

Millipede Animal Facts | AZ Animals (a-z-animals.com)

Photos – Top Photo: Higher Invertebrates Flashcards | Chegg.com; In-text Photo: Millipedes – Identification | Environment | Threats | Treatment (callnorthwest.com)

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Hike Leadership Metaphors Forward – Lamborghini

I recently purchased a 2015 Honda CRV. I sold my 2005 Honda Civic and kept my 1999 Toyota Camry. As you can quickly tell, I am not a car fanatic, a collector of classic antique vehicles (although my Camry was made in the last century), or an expert in automobile history, but I see many similarities between cars and leadership. As a teenager thinking about getting my driver license, I began looking at cars and dreaming about the best drive. I ended up with a VW Bug but I was enamored with the Lamborghini – the first 350 GT model came onto the scene in 1963 (I was 13). I have never driven a Lamborghini, sat in one, or even seen one up close, but just the photos of the machine are inspiring. So, this leadership metaphor compares the characteristics of a great car to those of an effective leaders.

The 2021 Huracan Lamborghini sells for $214, 866 (one of the less expensive models: the Aventador is $421,321 and the Sian is an estimated $3,000,000). The Huracan has a 7-speed transmission, with 631 horsepower, 318 cu in, 5204 cc, V-10 engine. It can accelerate from 0 – 60 mph in 2.5 seconds; travel a quarter of a mile in 10.4 seconds reaching a speed of 135 mph. It is a genuine sports car on the inside and reflects a special design on the outside. It is equipped with all wheel drive giving it amazing agility. It is not built to pull a trailer and it only has a very small front trunk and so the driver must pack light.

So, let me make a few comparisons between the Lamborghini and the leader.

First, the Lamborghini has a 7-speed transmission providing a wide range of gears. So, the leader must be able to shift gears at a moment’s notice: from celebrating a victory, to addressing a problem or concern, to a confrontational phone call, to a strategic planning committee, to the excitement of a new idea, to the bad news from the business office, and back to the hand shakes of a new relationship – all before lunch.  

Second, the Lamborghini has incredible power. It runs on 631 hp. And yet that power must be under control; acceleration must be planned, the car must stay on the road or the track, the car must be refueled, the driver must turn on the key, the power must be channeled. So too, the leader has power but that power must be respected and focused. The leader has his/her power not for the sake of the leader but for the sake of the driver. The power of the leader is not to energize his/her pride or to bring personal gain or dominance. The power is to benefit the team, the organization, the mission.

Third, the Lamborghini is a genuine sports car on the inside and the outside. The powerful motor and slick exterior makes the Lamborghini pretty incredible. The leader must be genuine on the outside – his/her actions, behaviors, conversations, relationships, and appearance should declare his/her leadership. AND on the inside – the character, the integrity, and the ethic of the leader must match the outside.

Fourth, the Lamborghini had fabulous agility to go along with its power. The all-wheel drive allows for mobility and dexterity on the road. The effective leader must have skills of agility, must be able to think quickly on his/her feet, and must be able to make wise decisions in a timely manner. Agility in the leader is seen in the speed of reaction time, openness to change in direction, the ability to maintain a proper balance, and the willingness shift perspectives.

Fifth, the Lamborghini has a small trunk. This might seem like a disadvantage, but I think it is appropriate for the metaphor. The leader must have a small trunk as well. The leader must be able to function without excess baggage. The leader must keep short accounts and refuse to carry grudges, bitterness, or anger. The leader must pack light and only carry what is necessary promote the mission and be a good steward of the organization.

Sixth, the Lamborghini is very expensive. The excellent leader is extremely valuable. You might never be able to afford the Lamborghini, but you can always strive to act like one. Practice shifting gears and using your power to advance the mission. Be a leader of excellence inside and out. Be agile and mobile by refusing to carry negative baggage – pack light and allow the excess weight to be left behind.

Photos 2021 Lamborghini Huracan Evo Gets Eye-Catching New Look | CarBuzz

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Hike Leadership Metaphors Forward – Juggler

For Christmas several years ago, I received three small balls about the size of hacky sacks and a book on how to juggle. After about five days I could juggle the balls about five times before I dropped one. I stayed with it for a couple of weeks and could successfully juggle all three balls for up to two minutes before an errant throw cause my impressive trick to fall apart. I found out how hard it is to make it look easy. I have a great appreciation for the accomplished juggler. So much, that I think there are a perfect metaphor of great leadership.

Like the three balls that I started out juggling, I propose that jugglers are like great leaders (or maybe that should be that leaders are like great jugglers) in three specific ways.

First, jugglers did not start out being perfect. They dropped balls, they dropped many balls, they dropped many balls every day, but they stuck with it and the ball dropping began to decrease. They practiced and practiced until they became good; they practiced some more until they became very good, and they continued to practice until they became expert. Leaders drop balls. But effective leader practice keeping multiple balls in the air at the same time.

Second, jugglers can successfully balance many tasks for a long time. Jaydon, from Perrysburg, Ohio, recently broke the record for juggling three balls without a drop: over 26-and-a -half minutes! Oh, and Jaydon is 11-years old.   Alex Barron from the UK juggled 11 balls at one time. (Alex is not 11, He was 18 when he set this record). Bob Evans (not the restaurant owner) decided to juggle while he took his morning swim (also known as swuggling). He became pretty good, setting a record of juggling 5 balls while swimming making 101 successful catches.  Leaders are also called on to keep the balls in the air. Finances, personnel, programs, stakeholders, customers, vision casting, public relations, fundraising, and _____ (you can fill in the blank with your own responsibilities that require your energies.

Third, jugglers have to juggle all kinds of objects. It is impressive to see a juggler keep three balls in the air, but it turns to amazing when they bring out the knives and swords; the flaming torches; the bowling pins; multiple items that are different sized and weights (like an apple, and pineapple, and a banana; or a cup, a saucer, and a fork); and then they bring out the blindfold. Leaders are called upon every day to keep the routine responsibilities in perfect order. They must be prepared to juggle the emergencies of life, the curve balls from left field, the objects (or objections) thrown their way from the disgruntled, the disappointed, and the discouraged.  

Great leaders and great jugglers have a lot in common – the three balls of diligence, hard work, and tenacity; the three swords of attention, alertness, and confidence; the three flaming torches of patience, flexibility, and self-control; and they three bowling pins of practice, practice and practice.

Photo of Juggler The meaning and symbolism of the word – Juggler (dreamicus.com)

Red Ball: Disco Balls | Red – Walmart.com

Two Balls: s-l300.jpg (300×156) (ebayimg.com)

Three Balls: Amazon.com : balls for juggling

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Hike Leadership Metaphors Forward: The Historian

At the end of my career in education, I was an administrator in a school with a 50-year history. All of the founding fathers of the school were gone. The second generation of leaders, who had grown professionally and spiritually in school and who had adopted the philosophy and mission of the school as their own, were retiring or moving on to other ministries. The succession plan for the head of school was extremely weak so the school experienced a series of six executive leaders in less than 15 years. The school board experienced a drastic turnover of established members. Policies began to change; traditions started to fade; procedures, protocols, and practices were modified. There were many factors that brought about this change of direction for the school, but one of the most influential elements was a lack of History. The school was well established with a solid mission statement, practical handbooks, and guiding policies, but there was a dearth of leadership that understood the why behind the statements and documents, so the new guard slowly challenged and changed some of the building blocks of the institution and thus altered the trajectory of the organization. Not all the change was bad or detrimental, in fact some of the renovation was beneficial and needed, but the lack of history made the transformation difficult, painful, and discouraging to many. A good leader must be like an Historian.    

The Four-Fold Role of an Historian:

Recorder – documentation is vital to an historian/leader. Accurate and concise writing skills are essential. The leader is accurate and factual to as many details as possible. The written documents of an organization are imperative to the continuance of the philosophy and mindset of the founders of the organization. The historian should record the ethos of the organization in such a way that a change to the organization will necessitate an intentional act of current leadership.

Objective Observer – the historian/leader must develop skills to enable him/her to look without reaching immediate conclusions, to see without the filters of preconceived ideas, to probe without a personal agenda, to investigate without bias. Historians attempt to be unbiased as they collect data and gain perspective. An effective historian/leader understands that are there many interpretations of events and decisions. An open mind and an unbiased conclusion are vital to accurate history. So, the historian/leader attempts to listen to every perspective before reaching a decision or a final conclusion of an issue.

Interpreter – the principles of precise hermeneutics must be carefully applied to understand the actions, motivations, attitudes, purposes of the past. An historian/leader must be a questioner as he/she formulates at least seven categories of inquiries: 1) the definitive question – what does this truly mean? 2) the rational question – why was this written or said? why was this important? 3) the implicational question – what are the ramifications of this data? 4) the identifying question – who made this statement? 5) the modal question – how was this data developed? 6) the temporal question – when was this information established? 7) the local question – where was this piece of the past developed?

Authority on the Past – a careful evaluation of the present and a visionary projection into the future must be accompanied by a thorough understanding of the past. The documents of today and the newspapers of tomorrow must have a firm understanding of the past to provide a context of reality. The interpretation of the past should fall to those who experienced the past. The testimonies of those who came before are essential to the historian. Decisions of the past were not made in a vacuum – they were established upon careful thinking, a particular worldview, a selected set of priorities, and a common goal. An historian/leader must become an authority on the past be effective in the present and productive in the future.

Picture of historian: The Historian and His Times » Everything-Voluntary.com Clip art of history:  Free History Cliparts, Download Free History Cliparts png images, Free ClipArts on Clipart Library (clipart-library.com)

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Hike Leadership Metaphors Forward: GPS

My family moved to Dayton in 1988. My wife and I had four small children and found a house (as first homeowners) just north of the city. Having only visited Dayton twice, we did not know the area very well. I knew how to get to work and back home, how to drive to the nearest grocery store, gas station, library, and bank, and the path to church. We purchased a book of street maps in order to learn how to navigate our way to ball games, friend’s houses, school events, and appointments. Every time we all piled into the car to go somewhere, it was a true adventure to find our way. We typically took three time longer than it should have taken and our rate of getting lost was close to 100%. My frustration fuse was lit shortly after we left our driveway and by the time we reached our destination, my emotions wound tight and my left eye was blinking with confusion.

All of that time, we had to function without the incredible invention of the GPS. Today, we just hop not the car, activate the GPS, and enjoy the ride with the confidence that the app will lead us to our destination via the fastest available route.  

A leader is like a GPS in the following ways:

#1 The GPS has the big picture in mind with the ability to zoom in to the details and zoom out to get the big picture once again. The leader needs to have the same ability of being able to grasp the bigger picture of the organization while being able to zoom in on each department and each employee while discerning the needs, desires, and wants of the individual.

#2 If the individual gets off course and takes a wrong turn, the GPS has the immediate ability to redirect and to find alternate routes. The GPS never gets angry; never yells, never tells me how stupid I am, or critical of my driving abilities. A strong leader has that same ability to be able to provide a mid-course correction for the organization and to promote a positive direction and alternate route to the end goal of the organization’s mission. The effective leader possesses a giant scoop of patience, and the desire to teach and nurture the team without yelling, anger, or words of destructive criticism.

#3 A GPS responds quickly and provides information needed for stability. There is never a sense of emergency or panic – only a calm voice sharing trusted advice The GPS communicates in a timely manner allowing the traveler to make quick decisions. So an effective leader must be timely in providing information to his company in order to maintain a sense of stability and well-being even in the midst of difficulties.

#4 Even when a traveler is lost, he/she has great confidence that the GPS will guide them to a place of safety. I have often thought that the app was taking me in the wrong direction, only to make a few more directive turns to find my “destination is on the right.”  So too, leader should be able to provide that kind of confidence for his team. The leader must know the destination, how to get there, how to bring each team member to the same place of cooperation and agreement, and how to see the many pathways to reach the goal.

#5 The GPS is totally dependent on technology and satellite connectivity to reflect accurate data. Without that source of data, the GPS is worthless, the friendly voice will not speak to you, the map on the scene will not appear, and everyone in the car will experience the anxiety of lostness.

So, the Christian leader needs to recognize his/her totally dependency on God and God’s word to provide absolute truth and the ultimate direction in life. Jesus shared that being disconnected from the Father is like a branch being removed from the vine.

Car GPS Photo at GPS Navigation Systems | Navigators, Mounts, Accessories — CARiD.com

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