Perception and Opportunity

We just got back from a week in the Outer Banks. Every morning we’d walk less than a block to a boardwalk that went between two houses, up a couple flights of stairs, over a sand dune, and down some stairs onto the beach.

About half way through the week during our morning pilgrimage Ryan says, “Our first time here I thought this was a diving board.” As Michelle and I discussed it with him we learned that he had really thought that we were all walking up this huge diving board and we were just going to jump off out into the vast expanse of ocean. He was nervous and scared about it at first but then we got to the top and it made sense to him.

I can’t get this lesson out of my head. As we all charged ahead ready for fun, one of us was actually scared because of what he thought, what he perceived, was about to happen.

I believe that we all are in some sort of leadership role, so that’s how I’ve been turning this lesson over in my mind.

Is my team clear on where we are? Do they know where we are going and how we’re going to get there?

Does my family know what is expected of them? Do I know what they expect of me? Have we had that conversation?

During the first year at the Naval Academy each Plebe is expected to jump off a platform that is the same height as the flight deck on an aircraft carrier. If they cannot jump off the platform into the pool below, they are not allowed to stay. That makes sense. They want to be in the Navy. Expecting a four year old little boy to leap off a high dive into the ocean does not.

Do the expectations make sense? Are they appropriate for the skill level and developmental stage of the individual? Are they also for the good of the team/family?

What tools are necessary? Do we have them and really know how to use them? What experience can we bring to the conversation? Are we positive? Enthusiastic? Motivating?

Every interaction with your team, family, prospect, client, customer…person…every interaction is an opportunity to go back to that first stroll to the beach with Ryan. We have another chance to have a conversation that can provide clarity, positively motivate, encourage, strengthen, and build up. We get another opportunity to help a little kid really, really, look forward to what’s next because he understands what he is looking at and what is expected of him.

Let’s all take a walk to the beach, shall we?

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4 Comments

Filed under 2011

4 responses to “Perception and Opportunity

  1. Great post. The photo really tells your story well.

    • KristerDunn

      Thanks Brody!
      That’s a shot of the actual boardwalk/stairs referenced in the post. Simple BlackBerry shot. Glad it added some value.

  2. Elise Rittler

    I really enjoyed this! Thought provoking. Says a ton too about the way Ryan trusts his mom and dad….seems he was willing to do something he feared because he was with you both. Thanks for sharing it.

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