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’.
Week #1 – Introduction.
We’d had a good day on the beach. Sandcastles had been made, balls thrown and caught, paddling and splashing been done in the waves. It was warm and sunny with a steady breeze flapping the flags in the late afternoon. I was putting my son, then three years old, into his car seat having washed the sand off his feet while my wife Sarah was sorting out our 20-month-old daughter, on the other side of the car. I am sure we would discover plenty more Pembrokeshire sand in nappies and pants later, but we made an effort to return what we could to the car park. We were making the most of taking a holiday during term time whilst our children were pre-school age and we had been fortunate with the weather. It was warm and sunny with a gentle on-shore breeze that carried distant noises from the many people still on the beach – happy sounds of screams and yelps as people swam in the surf and played games on the beach. It was time for us to get back to our accommodation for tea before the children became over-tired. The radio was on in the car – BBC Radio 2’s Steve Wright in the afternoon show was playing quietly. I wasn’t really paying attention as my son and I were chatting about the day, but I noticed that Steve had interrupted the show for a news broadcast. Something was being reported about planes flying into skyscrapers in New York. It was 11th September 2001.
Four months later, in early January 2002, I was flying out to Salalah in Oman as a lead crew member of a 27 Squadron Support Helicopter detachment to HMS Illustrious. The detachment was embarked, meaning we were based on board the ship as part of the ship’s company as it sailed around the Indian Ocean. We were to relieve the first detachment of crews who had been embarked for six weeks since November 2001 and we were to sail with HMS Illustrious into the Indian Ocean to await orders. We anticipated that we would be flying into Afghanistan with members of 42 Commando to seek out Osama Bin Laden, flush out the Taliban and play our part in the global response to the history defining event of 9/11.
We need navigators in life to tell us where we are and to help us to get to where we want to go. People are drawn to causes, something that aligns and connects with their beliefs, passions and values – much like HMS Illustrious represented the beliefs, passions and values of a nation. The context may be in the workplace, or it may be outside of work; but people like to follow causes. So, when an environment is created that empowers people to contribute to ‘their’ cause it can unlock tremendous energy and potential for brilliant results to be realised. The architects of causes are leaders, people with the ability to apply their unlimited talent to the cause and somehow make the cause compelling for others to follow. So how do leaders know the way?
To find out more ‘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