By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you stay vigilant in the face of change.
Imagine building a monument to a pest. No, I haven’t gone bug-eyed crazy yet.
Building a monument to a pest is exactly what cotton farmers did in Enterprise, AL when the boll weevil devastated their cotton crop and forced cotton farms to start growing peanuts and other various crops, a life-style change that opened the door to greater profitability and prosperity.
The Boll Weevil Monument still stands prominently in a busy downtown intersection and its message is still relevant: don’t get too comfortable especially when you have all you eggs in one basket. Cotton was king in southeastern Alabama for generations until the Boll Weevil virtually ate away its economic heart.
In 1919, farmers in particular and business leaders in general dedicated the 10-foot monument that features a statue of a woman, resembling the Statue of Liberty. She is holding a 16-inch depiction of a boll-weevil in a gesture of honor –respectfully more than triumphantly– over her head as if to say:
“Behold the Boll Weevil and Beware of Complacency
Especially in Highly Successful Organizations.”
Today, 93 years later, the Boll Weevil Monument still commands attention in Enterprise, AL as a reminder that good times can change suddenly and the most adept leaders live each day fighting off complacency and seeking diversity.
Indeed the most effective leaders I’ve known consistently design and develop their own imagined version of the Boll Weevil Monument to not only survive but thrive in these tough economic times.
Guard against complacency to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
You might also like these previous Leadership Mints on staying vigilant:
Seasoning your Age with Sage
Starring in your Commanding Role
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