Leaders learning new moves

You don’t have to wait for a drama to do something new

If you have not seen the video clip ‘Evolution of Dance’ on Youtube by Judson Laipply (2006) I would like to watch it in a moment.

When you are watching the video, I would like you to ask yourself two questions:

  1. How many of these dances have I done?
  2. At what point in the video had I not tried the new dance moves?

Sadly, for me my dance move prowess ended with YMCA by the Village People in 1978. Not a happy place! Please log on to U tube and watch the video now before reading the remainder of this article.

How was it for you? As you have just seen, the video demonstrates many of the dance crazes that have evolved since the 1950’s starting with Hound Dog which caused such a stir at the time earning Elvis the Pelvis the reputation of being a juvenile delinquent. The video finishes with several dances that accompany modern day rap songs, which left me totally lost.

It is one of the most watched video clips in the history of the internet. If you had not heard of the video until today, it might suggest you are not as up to date with the current generation as you might need to be. Don’t worry, I hadn’t heard of it either.

Dancing, fortunately for me, has not been on the list of skills and attributes required of effective leaders in the organisations I have worked for. I can get by with my dire dancing moves on those rare occasions when called to perform at weddings etc. If I am really honest with myself, I still think I can cut it on the dancefloor and believe my version of the ‘twist’ is a wholly acceptable manoeuvre, fit for all occasions, although my children would strongly disagree.

However, believing that the leadership skills I was taught in the 1970s are relevant and still fit for purpose now, would be a disaster.

For those of us in senior leadership roles tasked with inspiring, motivating and engaging our people today, there is little doubt we need more than ever to keep learning the new leadership moves if we are going to be a relevant and impactful leader for the people we are privileged to lead. You cannot afford to end up metaphorically ‘dancing like your Dad’ in your leadership capability. 

I do not believe that we need to change all that we do to be an effective leader in today’s business world. There are lots of legacy skills and behaviours that are still as effective today as they were many years ago. However, to succeed in 2021 with all the challenges it will undoubtedly present will for some, mean, proactive learning and development. Not relying on the old moves. In fact, unlearning the old moves.

The challenge many of us face is to find the time to do personal leadership development as there is always something else seemingly more urgent or important.

Whenever I feel I cannot spare the time to develop myself I always think of Tony Christiansen.

Tony is an amazing man who lost both his legs in a horrific train accident when he was nine years old. He has achieved truly amazing things in life. Successful business owner, best-selling author, qualified lifeguard, Olympic Gold Medalist in shot put, discus and javelin, black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a qualified pilot.

I was in the audience at one of his lectures, he came on the stage in a wheelchair and stopped at a gantry which he then climbed. Once he was at the top his opening line was ‘I went to the Doctors yesterday for a check up, he said I was fine. I asked if I needed to lose a bit of weight, he looked at the height/weight chart and said I was great in great shape’

We all laughed and then Tony entertained us with stories of how he has got on with life without once mentioning his lack of limbs. It was a truly remarkable example of human endeavour. At the end of the session Tony got back in his wheelchair to a standing ovation and just before he exited stage left he stopped and said ‘ I almost forgot the most important message I wanted to deliver here today……..

‘You don’t have to lose your legs to do any of this. You can do anything you want right now, starting today, the choice is yours. You don’t need to wait for a drama to do something new.’

Whenever I am stuck making a tough decision and procrastinating, I always use Tony’s example and get on and do whatever I need to do.

So, if you have the opportunity, to learn some new moves, especially in your leadership capabilities (or in any aspect of your life), make the right decision and go do it.

Anyone fancy a dance?

 

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