Rosamund Christie, executive coach and adjunct professor at the Australian Graduate School of Management recently spoke on cultural diversity and team building. She raised an interesting study by Ronald Heifetz (author of Leadership without easy answers) at Harvard, on the challenge of adaptive leadership and how team members and managers can perform with more awareness and direction.
The concept of the balcony and the dance floor is explored by Heifetz, the distraction, the bright lights and the constant action of the dance floor is the metaphor for the day to day 'on the ground' flurry of work and meetings that lead us astray of our goals. Heifetz believes most leaders spend too much time in the dance. The balcony view, is the step back approach, looking from a far, seeing the big picture and making sure everyone is dancing to the same tune.
Dancing and watching can happen at the same time.
By being mindful while in the flurry of activity, a more strategic view can be taken. It gives more meaning to our day to day actions and there is a plan and direction to our individual actions. The dancers are the individual bricks, and the balcony view is the blue print. You can't have one without the other.
It's easy to get caught up in the minutiae of to-do lists but take a step back and ask, is the ship even going in the right direction?
Flickr credit: Lillian3000