Article from www.DrMercer.com
3 LEADERSHIP LESSONS I LEARNED IN THE FOREST
By Michael Mercer. Ph.D.
Dec 16, 2011, 13:40
You can learn amazing leadership lessons and skills in a forest – if you pay attention. I know first-hand, because I have a forest behind my house. Here are three terrific lessons I learn in the forest – lessons to help you improve your leadership skills.
1. LITTLE PINK RIDING HOOD
I always see deer in the forest. About 99.9% of deer run away when I walk nearby.
But, one deer does the opposite. She walks near me, usually 25-50 feet away. Sometimes she follows only 5-10 feet behind me. [Note: I never feed wild animals, so she does not follow me to get food.] A few times, this deer walked up to my house, and looked in windows!
I affectionately call my deer friend Little Pink Riding Hood.
Once a monstrous, 6=foot tall sandhill crane was walking on a forest trail. Little Pink Riding Hood walked 5 feet behind that mammoth bird. Whenever the bird stopped walking, Little Pink stopped. When the bird resumed walking, Little Pink followed.
I consider her my ‘deer friend.’ Sometimes a small deer tags along with Little Pink.
Little Pink Riding Hood is admirably brave. Once, six deer stood in the forest, eating leaves. A coyote walked toward them. Four of the deer moved away. But, Little Pink and her small friend calmly walked in a big circle away from the other deer.
Suddenly, Little Pink and her small friend started running astoundingly fast straight at the coyote! The coyote ran away.
Leadership Lesson =
Most people are chicken or too lazy to take charge of situations. Thank goodness for brave leaders like Little Pink Riding Hood. Superb leaders use their brains to plan what needs to be done. and then immediately start to do it.
2: IMPERIALIST PIGS TRY TO TAKE OVER EVERYTHING
Every weed, tree and plant in the forest is an imperialist pig. They try to take over the entire forest!
I only want beautiful wild flowers and trees I like in my forest. But every plant and tree produces seeds and tries to take over more and more territory – unless unless I stop them.
So, I spend many after-work hours in the forest. I remove plants I do not want – so wild flowers and trees I want can thrive and spread.
Leadership Lesson =
Every organization lets some bums – unproductive, irresponsible, lazy employees – sneak onto its payroll. Bums are corporate weeds: They see how much they can get away with. Bums encourage other employees to slack off and lower productivity. If left unchecked, that organization will get taken over by ‘weeds.’
Your threefold leadership lesson:
A. Hire productive, responsible, hard-working people.
B. Avoid hiring “weeds,” i.e., unproductive, irresponsible, lazy bums
C. De-employ bums ASAP
3: DON’T LET TREES STOP YOU FROM SEEING THE FOREST
Executives calling me for advice on how to handle business problems usually start by telling me many details of the problem.
After awhile, I point out: “Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest because of all the trees!”
“Trees” are the many details. “Forest” is the vision or big goal the executive desires to achieve.
In my forest, I often experience this see-forest-from-trees predicament. When I walk through the woods, I see many things I need to improve, e.g., fix trails, destroy weeds, clear brush, and more.
Then, it dawns on me that I invested hundreds of hours of strenuous work to make my forest beautiful – but I see only problems. I fail to see my forest’s beauty, and appreciate the great results I produced.
At such moments, I force myself to (a) focus on the “forest” and (b) stop focusing on “trees.” Then, I feel proud of results my hard work produced. I enjoy the wild flowers and trees I cultivated. I cherish the fresh air, and seeing wild animals, like deer, coyotes, hawks, and foxes.
Leadership Lesson =
As a leader, make sure you see the “forest.” Stop looking mainly at “trees.” Instead, focus on “forest” – your vision or big goals for your organization’s growth and prosperity.
LEADERSHIP LESSONS & SKILLS BROUGHT TO YOU BY
I used to think of forests as beautiful, enjoyable places. Now, from investing innumerable hours working in my forest, I discovered forests also offer tremendous leadership skills and lessons.
COPYRIGHT 2011 MICHAEL MERCER, PH.D., www.DrMercer.com
Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is a book author, management psychologist, and speaker. He authored 6 books, including “Absolutely Fabulous Organizational Change” and also “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest.” Dr. Mercer delivers speeches and seminars at conferences and companies. Three pre-employment tests he created are used by many companies so they can hire hard-working employees. You can learn about his presentations and pre-employment tests, plus subscribe to his Newsletter. at www.DrMercer.com