Sunday, June 29, 2008


I was returning from Wisconsin this past Friday. I was in a small 34 passenger jet propelled plane. These are your basic yellow buses in the sky. I was very happy to be on board. It was a standby flight out of Central Wisconsin Airport. I was the last one on. I got the back row of seats to myself. There were four seats side by side...much like the back row of a Gray Hound bus.

I sat in the seat right at the end of the aisle. This allowed me to stretch my legs out right down the row. Being in the back, in that seat, was much like being in first class in a larger plane. I may have been the last on, but I felt I had the best seat. Then again, I was so happy to be on the plane I would have felt sitting on the drop down seat outside the cockpit would have been the best seat.

There was a great deal of thunder activity around us. This did not have much impact on us until we got into the vicinity of Detroit. Here there was weather around the airport, so we were placed in a holding pattern for about ten minutes. I am not a big holding pattern kind of guy, and this is amplified when there are thunderheads to be navigated around.

We were released to make our decent into the Detroit. It was a bit of a bumpy ride. I am not a fan of bumpy rides. It was not the worse I have been on, but it was not the smoothest either.

I find that when I get in bumpy air I like to close my eyes. Not real sure why, but for some reason it gives me a bit of comfort. I am reminded of a child who places their hands over their eyes and feel they have rendered themselves invisible. I guess when I close my eyes I somehow feel I am not really hundreds, if not thousands of feet in the air being tossed around like a plastic cup in the open ocean. It doesn't really change anything, but I believe it must. That is until I open my eyes and discovered I was still on the same small cylinder hurling through inconvenient air.

It is easy to fall into the "eyes tightly shut" syndrome in leadership. There may be kinds of stuff happening around us, but instead of clarifying the situation and dealing with it we shut our eyes. We believe that by doing so the challenges, obstacles and problems will somehow take care of themselves. It rarely happens. When we open our eyes we discover not only are the circumstances we were trying to avoid still very much there, often they have increased in their severity.

Seldom does ignoring our leadership challenges fix them. Going on with business as usual when it is anything but usual does no good. Things fester and become an epidemic that could have been avoided if only dealt with earlier. So what are we do to? Close our eyes tighter! Sooner or later things have to go back to usual.

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