Archive for November, 2012

Tribal Leadership parallels

Owning your place:

I was bugged by the assertion of the authors that we somehow have to own each stage of leadership before we can move to the next as if it were some kind of “holy wisdom” and there was only “one path to enlightenment”.  Then I thought about Dante’s Divine Comedy where in the very beginning he tries to “think” his way out of the “dark wood” as if he can just casually cruise through these ideas and adopt them.  It is interesting that he finds himself immediately confronted with a series of scary animals that block his way: the leopard (luxury or lust) the Lion (pride), and the wolf (greed) and is so overwhelmed he despairs.  It smacked me right in the face like a Double IPA.   It is easy and understandable when one reads about the different levels of leadership to assume we are already at the highest level; right up until the reality of how we operate and deal with others begin to bear its teeth.  Being unwilling to acknowledge where we really are leaves us beset by these beasts that discourage and burn us out.

Why Stages 4&5 are so hard?:

Assuming we can get beyond our own delusion of where we are, there is a risk of over steering into a kind of false humility that thinks “I am deluded… I must really suck”, which is not helpful either.  It is equally deluded, especially if we lose confidence in our ability to seek and understand our deepest passions and seek instead to adopt someone else’s passion or purpose.  David Whyte’s observation  captures this quite well.  “Ironically, we bring more vitality into our organizations when we refuse to make their goals the measure of our success and start to ask about the greater goals they might serve, and when we stop looking to them as parents who will supply necessities we can only obtain when we wrestle directly with our own destiny.”

Funny how the way we were educated most of our lives:

  1. Follow the (teacher approved) process/path to
  2. Find the “right”answer so you can
  3. Collect Gold Star and
  4. Move to next problem

turns out to be a little more involved…


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Dan Clark

Dan Clark

Principal of Bowline Consulting, process designer/fixer, wireless telecom veteran, addicted pick up soccer player, fly fisher, backpacker, beer brewer, guitar player, choir singer, recovering bag piper

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