In my latest book ‘Your navigator’ I share some of the experiences and adventures that forged my own understanding of what makes a difference in leadership – from the leadership qualities that matter through to the leadership principles that make a real difference to individual, team and organisational effectiveness. In a series of blogs over the next 8 weeks I’ll be sharing excerpts from each of the key chapters in ‘Your navigator’.
The Navigator Programme 2019 Open Programme (Summer) places available:
London: 3rd & 4th Jun | 19th Jul | 21st & 22nd Aug | 23rd Sep
North-West: 21st & 22nd May | 25th Jun | 15th & 16th Jul | 19th Aug
Week #4 – determination. It took me three attempts to get into the Royal Air Force. In my chapter on determination I share the journey I took to realising my boyhood dream to fly helicopters. I also look to a less well-known leader, John Harrison, who’s determination is an example to us all. In the excerpt below, I highlight three things that may be stopping you achieve your mission.
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The story of John Harrison and the Longitude Prize is another example of why determination is my third favourite leadership quality. Any significant endeavour that I can think of, any significant achievement in sport, business, science, personal health, art or any other discipline requires determination, usually coupled with a lot of hard work. It is almost inevitable that part of the journey will encounter adversity of some sort – John Harrison faced criticism and rejection – and yet I am convinced that adversity forges leadership. When adversity comes leaders are the ones who through their determination and persistence can hold onto a vision and continue against the odds until the task is done. Along the way they are presented with the choice of whether to continue or not – is it worth it? If it is worth it, then the leader must be determined to carry on until the destination is reached – per ardua ad astra.
The famous quote at the start of this chapter by Winston Churchill is an example to me of someone who had the odds against them and no surety of success and yet was convinced, and had the belief in himself, and the cause, that the work would continue until the task was complete. For John Harrison this meant constructing a timepiece that would win the longitude prize. In my own modest experience of pursuing a career in the Royal Air Force to fly helicopters it meant trying several times and working hard through many years of training courses to realise the goal.
What does it mean in your situation right now?
In all of these examples the individuals set themselves on a course towards a clear goal. To work on their goal, they had to make best use of the time they had. I am intrigued by the role that time plays in leadership. When things aren’t going the way we’d like them to time can seem to pass slowly. Paradoxically, when things go wrong in highly dynamic situations they can go wrong very quickly, and time seems to accelerate. Within these situations I believe determination is the attitudinal choice that we make to continue to pursue the goal. As we know from the longitude story, time can be used to inform us of where we are; knowledge of time is needed to help us to accurately navigate to where we want to get to. Journeys take time. For me, determination is the quality that means that we choose to push through to the goal as time passes, whatever the circumstances may be telling us. Without determination we can drift and lose hope. Determination engages with the beliefs and desires of the heart, the courageous aspirations that leaders can envision, and it is uncompromising in reaching its destination. As leaders we need to be wise to the many things that can derail our determination to get something done. I offer three for consideration here, maybe you can identify more:
- Is the mission important enough?
- It’s easy not to…
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To find out more about these 3 derailleurs – ‘Your navigator’ book is available from Amazon:
If you or your organisation is in need of a navigator to develop brilliant leaders and leadership then please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org