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Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Leaders of groups and organizations are much like a helmsman on a ship, the person in charge of steering the ship.  The helmsman is supposed to get us to our desired destination, safely, soundly, and on time.  

Here are some attributes of quality helmsmen:

  • They understand the limits of their boat, getting the most out of it without pushing it beyond it's capabilities.
  • They have studied well the routes to be taken and steer clear of danger.
  • They keep a wary eye on the weather and contextual conditions at all times.
  • They know that the success of the journey is dependent on MANY other sailors on the boat, which have skills and expertise they do not possess themselves.
  • They are focused and clear-headed, always keeping their attention on getting to the goal.
  • They are emotionally strong, resilient, and unflappable.
  • They learn quickly from the wisdom of others, and from their own mistakes.
  • They understand that their cargo is precious and treat it as such.
  • They take the shortest, safest route to the destination, and are disinclined to take diversions.
  • They know when to speed up and when to slow down, when to steer to port and when to steer to starboard.
  • They understand that safety trumps speed and execution trumps strategy.
"Steady at the helm" is more than just an old sailor's saw, it's a state of being that is greatly desired for those who presume to lead others.

Steady as she goes, mate.

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