Pause for a second and actually answer that.
Funnily enough, we don’t have too much of a problem dreaming. If we’re asked the right questions and given the time to contemplate the answer, what we can imagine in our minds is spectacular. So why is it that so much of what we dream never comes to fruition, that life never looks like we intended it to? Is it because we don’t have the time or money? The right people? Because we have too many other responsibilities? I don’t personally believe it’s any of these things as much as it is that we want to be significant more than we want to be successful.
Significance is a deep human need. We want to matter. We want to be effectual. We want to be productive and to do good things. And if you have leadership in you, you want to do so immediately!
So why aren’t there more spectacular results, projects, and outcomes? Why aren’t we more successful at what we set out to accomplish? Is it because of circumstances that present themselves? Challenges? Other people? Unforeseen hiccups? Why is it so hard to get others on board regardless of the merit of our mission; and why is there always so much to manage that leaves us out of steam before we reach our goal?
I believe that our quest to be significant rather than successful sets us up to overlook a major component needed to accomplish success with any longevity.
M. Scott Peck, author of “The Road Less Traveled,” drew the analogy between marriage and a base camp for mountain climbing. He theorised: “If one wants to climb mountains one must have a good base camp, a place where there are shelter and provisions, where one may receive nurture and rest before one ventures forth again to seek another summit.”
I think this is the missing piece of our puzzle – the part we don’t solidify when we set out in search of significance. We miss the set up of our basecamp. Our team. Our support structure. We miss making certain that everyone is on the same page, using the same map, pointing in the same direction.
Scott Peck elaborated: “Successful mountain climbers know that they must spend at least as much time, if not more, in tending to their base camp as they actually do in climbing mountains, for their survival is dependent upon their seeing to it that their base camp is sturdily constructed and well stocked.”
Leaders are decisive, driven people. They summit mountains and leave the details up to everyone else. That’s what teams are for, right?? Yet, if in our quest to make a difference, to summit that mountain, we hadn’t ensured the integrity of our basecamp, where will our support come from? Where will we return for sustenance? Who will follow through when we are tired or unable? And how will they know what we need?
If we do not spend time making sure that our basecamp team are well prepared, nourished, replenished, grown – how will they accomplish the roles they are expected to?
This goes for marriage, for business… for any team and any leader.
So as we begin another week, check your basecamp. Ask yourself how sturdily constructed it is. How prepared it is to support its members that venture forth. Are they up to speed with the mission, their roles and responsibilities? When was the last time you fed them? Are there mountains they would like to summit?
Perhaps your team is new to you. Perhaps it’s merged from other teams that had other plans and ways of doing things. Perhaps their goals are different to yours – have you asked? Perhaps care wasn’t taken in choosing the right people in the first place, or perhaps they weren’t well-tested before being assigned to the mission. Human beings are amazing things – passionate, kind, virtuous even – if they’re fed well, and given a firm route forward. It is when we have to fight for our route forward, when we’re hungry, or when we have to take detour after detour that we lose strength. Have you checked your team?
We expect engagement. We expect passionate application to the roles assigned to our teams. We expect support. We expect advocacy for the mission at hand. We’d love to see excellence. Innovation even!
All of these things require energy. Feeding. Growth. Clarity. And the strength and permission to venture forth. To summit mountains. They all require a sturdily constructed and well-stocked basecamp from which to achieve success. Success with longevity that allows everyone the significance they seek.
by Christen Killick
July 16th, 2018