Friday, June 25, 2010

Leadership lessons learnt from Rollercoaster

Recently I had a great trip with my family to cedar point.  Yes ! the best place for a roller coaster fanatic in Ohio.   To enjoy any ride you have to stand in long queues to get in.  While I was standing in line I was always worried and tensed about whether I will be able to do it or not.  I knew that as soon as the ride would be over I would be fine.  But I could not get away with the tension. 

Many times while in queue I thought of backing out but I could not because my inner sense told me not to do so.  I kept saying to myself that the time to quit has passed long back. If I were supposed to quit I could have done it long ago.  Now the time is to get onto the ride and experience the adrenaline. 

I could not stop my self from correlating the experience with my leadership experience I had in the past.  So here are the lessons learnt from my recent roller coaster cum Leadership Thrill Rides. 

1.) It takes sheer guts 
It takes guts to stand in the line to experience the adrenaline flow through your body.  It is easy to blame yourself for not being brave enough to take the pressure.  It is easy to blame your health for not being fit for the roller coasters.  But it takes guts to sit on one and experience the thrill you get from sitting one.  In leadership you have to have sheer guts to accept the responsibility of being a leader. 

It is easy to blame others for not doing work but hard to become a leader and do the work.  It take guts to experiment, decide, control, manage, inspire, motivate, forget personal differences, ego and simply lead from the front.

2.) Leaders don't quit
Once you are in the line, you will come out only after enjoying the ride or crying.  In leadership, once you have accepted the responsibility you will not quit.  You either come out wining or loosing.  But surely there is an outcome associated with your choosing to sit on a ride.  When you sit on the ride you have no control over it.  You have no choice but be on the ride.  You can't quit nor anybody will listen to you.  At best you can close your eyes, cry, shout or enjoy it. 

3.) You feel the adrenaline
When you are enjoying the ride you feel the adrenaline flowing through.  You experience it again and again.  By the end when the ride is going to end you feel, "It was so short", "It was great", "I want to do it again".  When you are a leader giving speech to thousand people you feel the adrenaline going through your body.  You feel anxious and you are excited and nervous.  When you are done you feel so great and accomplished that you want to do it again.  Leadership is such a thrill ride.

4.) Second time is more fun
When you enter another ride you know what is going to happen.  You are prepared and you know that it is going to be fun.  You are getting used to it and now on the way you have figured, how to enjoy it.  On your first leadership assignment you will be tensed, nervous and anxious.  Second time you will be more prepared and will try to enjoy the role.  You will also make others feel comfortable.  You will be prepared for the ups and downs, shakeups and mash-ups associated with Leadership Thrill Ride.