Six years ago, I had my first ski lesson and I quickly realized that this winter activity was filled with leadership lessons. As a novice skier, each time I am on the hill or mountain, there is always something new to learn.
Over the last year, we all have experienced change to our daily landscapes. From setting up home offices, to learning new technology, to managing family and pets, to adjusting our daily activities. Looking back at what has changed and what has stayed the same reminds me of an important ski lesson…
One afternoon while enrolled in ski school, my ski class took the high-speed chairlift to the other side of the mountain. Our instructor shared that while these ski runs are in a new location, the slope and skills needed are similar to the beginner hill.
When I looked out at the mountain, the landscape looked very different. I had a hard time believing that everything our instructor shared with us was true. The mountain seemed bigger, steeper, and never ending. The energy level was different, it was fast paced. I felt like I didn’t belong, with the more advanced skiers all around me. However, my instructor had confidence that our group was ready. With some coaching and cheering by the instructor and group, we cautiously started down the mountain, and over time, we built confidence and had fun.
Here is my leadership lesson. When we move from where we are comfortable, the beginner hill, to a new landscape, the bigger and longer beginner run, change happens. I was experiencing the cycle of change, starting with resistance. Then we moved to neutrality on the cycle, wait and see, this was me on the chairlift. Finally, I hit moving forward on the cycle of change by exploring how I can use my ski skills and ending with a sense of accomplishment. I made it down the mountain.
As leaders, we need to be mindful that when we are changing the landscapes for our teams, we are creating change. While we may be excited about the new technology, project, or organizational vision, it takes time for others to join us on this journey. Our teams need reassurance that they have skills, and abilities to be successful. As leaders we need to coach and celebrate with our teams. Changing landscapes creates change. How can you coach your team down their mountain?
Lead to the Max!®
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