Sunday, February 24, 2008

The View from the Balcony

Understanding the concepts of the Leadership Diamond and putting them into use are two very different things. When you are in the heat of the moment, locked in a debate with someone with strong opinions, struggling to make yourself heard, it is difficult to keep your vision (what you are trying to create as a result of your effort), ethics (how your actions will affect others), and reality (the real, and undeniable facts) in the forefront of your mind. While locked in a struggle with others the desire to win, to make your point, and to show your courage, will often hide more rational thoughts.

However, my good friend, Ray Patchett, has taught me that this is the exact moment when you can be most effective by taking a moment to mentally step from the stage, where you are one of the players, into the balcony, where you can see the entire play unfold. This mental leap up into the cheap seats gives you a new perspective of the entire drama. You can see each of the players and the roles they have assumed, the audience (those affected by the outcome of the drama), the theater (the environment in which the play is taking place), the props (the theatrical devices that are part of the play to enhance the effect), and yourself.

When you make a mental move away from the argument to a vantage point that lets you perceive all of the parts, you can more effectively apply the concepts of the Diamond to your role. Although you cannot be responsible for how others will behave, you can be responsible for your performance.

You can practice this in situations at times when you are not an actor, but find yourself to be an engaged observer. Step back to see all of the parts that are being played. Hear the words that are being used that attempt to make each player's points. And, think more clearly about how vision, ethics, reality and courage help to create a space for greatness.