I’ve told this story at many conferences, but it comes with a warning. For those of you who now rush to buy this life-changing book, it is about birdwatching, that in itself can distract you from spotting ideas. Hey, a lesser-spotted woodpecker on my bird feeder… sorry, got to go
- You don’t need to know where you are going, just what you want to achieve. Just because we have always been this way doesn’t mean it is the only route. A new way can be great fun.
- Lead by example: It isn’t an intellectual activity. You have to show your commitment. When people trust and follow you, can they look you in the eye, and see that you are emotionally committed to the cause.
- Engage people. Look for ways to let them participate, join in, and influence the journey.
- Be aware of emotions. If you recognise somebody’s emotional state then you can choose the most effective ways of motivating them. How many times have we found leaders expecting their teams to change before historical baggage has been cleared.
- Praise success. Quick wins and small victories as a team or from individuals encourages everybody to work hard towards the goal.
- Challenge to motivate. You never know what can be achieved unless you try something different.
- Support innovators; these are the people who will find the new ways, those routes that others may require encouragement to try but which might take you to new heights.
- Encourage a sense of urgency to do something now rather than letting the moment pass. Momentum is difficult to initiate but once you are on the move it is easier to maintain.
- Be prepared to swim. The adventure sometimes takes unexpected turns.
A very wise paragliding instructor once gave me some very sound advice. He quite simply said ‘Don’t look at the tree’. The tree in question is on the edge of the landing field right in the centre of Interlaken, Switzerland. As tourists sit in the surrounding cafes and bars sipping tea or having a beer, soaking in the spectacular surrounding and views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau, paraglider pilots are trying to land in the field in front of them. Nothing could be more embarrassing or dangerous than to crash into this tree, which is why you tend to look at it.