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Breaking Out of Paradigm Prison

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to focus your commitment to a mission. Reading time: 4:05

     In the 1980 movie–The Blues Brothers — Elwood assures Jake with all sincerity:  “We’re on a mission from God.”

    blues-brothers-Indeed in this mission, The Blues Brothers were specifically deployed. Not generally employed.

     They were virtually thrust into a targeted and timed problem-solving role that challenged them to lead –NOW–or else suffer the consequences beyond frayed friendships and scarred relationships.

      And in the process the Blues Brothers illustrate the ennobling might and majesty of leading from the heart, for the heart and by the heart over and through obstacles to complete their mission. No matter what!

     Let’s see if we can capture the Blues Brothers magic formula of Deployed Leadership and make it work for you.

Deployed Leadership

     Deployed,  the Blues Brothers bubbled with enthusiasm for achieving the objective: raise $5,000 in 11 days to pay off back county taxes OR ELSE the orphanage where the Blues Brothers grew up would be foreclosed. They  focused on achieving the objective BECAUSE of  — not in spite of –the deadline.

     Deployed, the Blues Brothers faced a broader challenge to redeem themselves from a life of crime (Jake had just gotten out of prison) and both had not lived up to the expectations of the nuns –the only real family they ever knew –who cared for them as children in the orphanage.

     Deployed, the Blues Brothers mission was personal: Keep the head of the orphanage –Sister Mary Stigmata —from losing her home and her leadership role. She told the Blues Brothers she wanted to stay in Illinois as head of the orphanage instead of being shipped off to Africa to do the Lord’s work.

                                   LET’S HIT IT!

             No wonder with that spirit of redemption and drive to stave off foreclosure, Elwood saw only the possibilities in getting the band back together again for one more paid gig to save the orphanage. So what if they had little money and no resources.  (Does a soiled prophylactic count? ) Just a smile and a beat up car.

      Hey what more do you need?

     After all Elwood says “We’re on a mission from God” and then adds: “We’ve got a full tank of gas; half a pack of cigarettes. It’s dark and  we’re wearing sunglasses.” And Jake adds with bravado: “(Let’s) hit it.” 

      That’s what leaders do: they hit it when the world seems like it is hitting them with a dose of too much reality. They deploy in much the same way you deploy a parachute. You open it up.  NOW! You give it life. NOW! You release its energy, excitement and exhilaration. NOW!

     Let’s hit it, NOW!

     Let’s hit it. NOW!  In deploying more than employing people, effective leaders bring together carefully selected talent, armed with a specific measurable mission and targeted toward a specific result.

     Let’s hit it. NOW!  In deploying more than employing people, effective leaders galvanize the entire organization with a heightened sense of urgency, expectation, and anticipation.

Deploying vs. Employing

Elwood (Dan Akroyd) and Jake (John Belushi) - The Blues Brothers

Elwood (Dan Akroyd) and Jake (John Belushi) – The Blues Brothers

             Let’s hit it, Now! Let’s deploy says a former CEO and the author of Authentic Leadership. Bill George writes:  “Authentic leaders know how to DEPLOY their organizations to achieve marketplace leadership and sustain their success long term.”

      Deploying. Not simply employing.

      If employed, The Blues Brothers no doubt would have felt more encumbered than empowered. More under someone else’s control than at their own controls.  More dancing to another’s music than making their own dance music.

      That’s why the most effective leaders know that a workforce employed can be stifled: employees can be pigeon-holed in boxes on an organization chart.

   Freeing Your Deployees

      But the most effective leaders also know that  “Deployees” –freed from the corporate chains of the past— can break out of Paradigm Prison and serve the organization in so many different ways.

     “Deployees” can soar into new markets with new products, with new services. With a greater sense of personal accountability, a greater sense of personal responsibility to achieve their mission.

      Today’s deployed workforce –like the Blues Brothers– is more like an ensemble cast, playing many different roles in many different situations –coordinating and complementing their skills to best serve the audience (customers).

      This ensemble group — a.k.a. getting the band back together in Blues Brothers parlance– is more creative, more flexible in deploying their specific skills rather than generally employing their overall talents.

         Unleash the creativity in your organization. Deploy more than employ.  Especially if you’re on a mission. From God.

 Today’s ImproveMINT

  Deploy your troops to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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