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Are You in Powder or On Ice?

“Keep your weight forward!”

“Lean into the fall line!”

As I shift my weight over the edge

and head for the first mogul

this sounds like the most ridiculous advice.

My brain screams PULL BACK!

So I do,

and I have plenty of time to regret my error

as I extract myself from the snowbank

and hike up the hill to retrieve my skis.

The moguls humiliated and humbled me for a decade.

Now I ski them with ease.

I was feeling proud and more than a little smug

Until I headed West…

Skiing in the East is about the ice.

Lean forward. Dig in your edges.

It’s counterintuitive. Awkward. Scary.

And the only way to control your speed.

Out West they have wide open bowls

powder up to your knees

It’s embarrassing.

I’m exhausted.

I can barely get through a run.

“Lean back” my instructor observes.

I nearly fall over from surprise.

“I’ve been taught to always lean forward,” I say.

“You’re an advanced skier now,” my instructor says.

At your level you use different techniques depending on the conditions.

He was talking about skiing,

And he gave me a new way to think about leadership.

You can’t push the powder around,

So you lean back and let the skis do the work.

Have you ever noticed that what

motivates a team on one project

may not motivate a team on another project

even if it’s the same team…

Do you recognize the crucial moment when

training a new employee?

You have been hovering. helping. teaching. protecting.

Then you have to step back. Let them fly solo.

A different technique on the same employee.

What are you doing

right now

That is holding you back

because you are applying an

old solution to a new challenge

Are you stepping forward when you should lean back?

Are you leaning back when you need to dive in and move things forward?

Great leaders use

different techniques for

different situations

Think up three new ways to solve your current challenge.

Implement one.

How are you moving your current project forward?

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