Monday, December 27, 2010


Picture a suspension bridge as a metaphor for the bridges we cross as we practice the language of leadership. A bridge from our inner dialogue to the spoken word; a bridge from the spoken word to the actions they inspire; a bridge from our actions to the bottom-line results we ultimately influence.

The pylons represent stability, essential when the winds of adversity are blowing against us. These winds represent change – change in terms of frequency, velocity, complexity, and sometimes predictability. Without a stable foundation, the structure could collapse.

The suspension cables symbolize the importance of flexibility supported by the common threads ultimately anchored by a stable foundation. Without flexibility to offset stability, the structure could break.

The deck is the solid platform on which we suspend judgment and practice the language of leadership – the means to the end – recognizing, of course, that in an environment of continuous improvement, there is no end – simply another bridge. Without a solid platform from which to speak, the structure could lack purpose.

The side spans symbolize the first and last steps toward a particular goal. The journey requires courage to begin, commitment and trust to persevere, and endurance to finish.

Without these characteristics, the structure could stand idle and lose integrity.

The center span signifies improvement and progress from point A to point B. Without continuous improvement, our competition will leave us in the wake of yesterday.

At first glance, the bridge may appear linear; however, it actually has great breadth and depth and width which, when combined, create a multi-dimensional system. A multi-dimensional system translates into one of diversity and inclusion; creates many avenues to tap into talent, lets silence speak, and is rich with teachable moments. Without a multi-dimensional system, an organization lacks the power of collaboration.

A bridge, itself, embodies synergy whereby the whole is greater than the sum of its parts . . . a bridge to the leadership language of a new day.

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