By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to keep you aware of all factors in decision-making. Reading time: 3:15
Factoring outside influences is the hallmark of the most effective leaders. To remind yourself of how effective those outside influences are in your decision-making, think of the airplane heading from Miami to Fargo, ND.
If the pilot kept the original heading out of Miami the plane would have landed 500 miles to the east of Fargo near Detroit. That’s why pilots have to factor the Cariollis Effect– the rotation of the earth–into their flight plans.
And that’s why the most effective leaders know the significance in making minor adjustments at the beginning of a project that have a wide-ranging impact.
It’s finesse more than force marks that drives a leader’s strategic adjusting. Consider sailing a boat or riding a horse.
In sailing a boat, alignment stems more from the strategically timed and thoughtful adjustment of the trim tab than from gripping the tiller or grabbing the wheel in haste.
In riding a horse, alignment stems more from the strategically timed and thoughtful adjusting of the knees than grabbing the reins in haste.
Less is more. Finesse over force. Observe the outside factors and factor them in your decision-making. That’s what Eratosthenes (276-194 BC ) did in ancient Greece and made the first recorded measurement of the circumference of the earth without any accurate survey equipment. No lasers. No GPS. How did he do it? With finesse like a leader.
In the library in Alexandria in Egypt he read that a certain deep well in an Egyptian city (Syene) would have its bottom entirely lit by the noon day sun one day every year. Then the sun would be directly overhead.
But in a city just to the north of Syene, in Alexandria, he noticed that vertical objects cast a shadow at noon (so the angle was different). The difference in that angle was equal to 1/50th of a circle, so the earth would be 50 times that distance in circumference. Turned out his estimate was only 3 percent off.
Leaders observe the situation and creatively solve the problem making slight adjustments even when the situation at hand is contradictory. Two sail boats for example can sail in opposite directions with the same winds as poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox notes:
One ship drives east and another drives west
with the same winds that blow. ‘Tis the art of the sails–
and not the gales–which tells us the way to go.”
It’s all in the art of the sails –adjusted and aligned –to take the lead. No matter which way the winds blow. Or how the earth rotates. Leaders –from Miami to Fargo and beyond– account for it all. Strategically.
Making adjustments to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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