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Becoming a SumBody

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to spur responsible problem solving. Reading time: 3:51

        When Charles Lindbergh became the first solo pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, a business executive smirked: “It would have been even more remarkable if he had done it with a committee. “

      a committeeAfter all, it takes a real leader with persistence to untie the red tape that is wrapped around most committees. It takes a real leader with conviction to sort through all the hidden agenda. It takes a real leader with purpose to fight off the prevailing  kick-the-can down the street syndrome that plagues most committees.

     Indeed, too many committees don’t commit. Too many committees spin their wheels in the sand of consensus. Too many committees drive to assumptions more than arrive at conclusions.

       But leaders do commit. They don’t hide behind committees or reports. They run after problems –not away from them. They weigh in rather than wait on.

       Leaders are always on a mission with a vision especially when the specter of a committee threatens to drive many a project into the proverbial ditch with  its powers of procrastination and indecision. No matter if those  committees are comprised with feckless people willing to let others assume responsibility like those in the story of Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody by that famous author Anonymous.

There was an important job to be done
and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it. But Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that
because it was Everybody’s job.

Everybody thought Anybody would do it.
Nobody thought Somebody wouldn’t do it.
But Everybody blamed Somebody when
Nobody did what Anybody could have.”

a committee1

Nikola  Tesla

      A leader is a SumBody.

      As a Sumbody, a leader adds up to the sum of their convictions and the sum of their beliefs and values.

      As a SumBody,  a leader adds up to the sum of  what they have experienced; the sum of who they have shared those experiences with, and the sum of the protocols that fomented those relationships sewn with integrity and woven together with a mutual sense of commitment and responsibility.

      As a SumBody, a leader adds up to the sum of their creative coping skills in new and different situations or circumstances with an empowering perspective that champions the individual’s personal  contribution to the team, to the community and to the larger world around them.

     And as a Sumbody, a leader makes his or hers mark. Uniquely.  Significantly. Memorably. Singularly. As author S.I. Hayakawa said: “If you see in any given situation only what everybody else can see, you can be said to be so much a representative of your culture that you are a victim of it.”

      As a Sumbody, a leader adds up to the sum of their bias to take action, to right a wrong, to weed the garden. And even to dive into a river to fix a hose pumping water as a 12 year-old.

      That’s what Nikola Tesla did as a boy, the same Nikola Teslta who would become a pioneer in electricity, the same Nikola Tesla who would invent the alternating current motor and the same Nikola Testlaname sake of an electric car on the market today. As a 12-year-old, Tesla attended a demonstration of a new water-pumping fire engine during a city-wide celebration in his small town. But the engine wouldn’t pump the water because the hose in the river had collapsed. Tesla took charge. He dove  into the river and fixed it.

      Responsible leaders dive it. Personally. They don’t wait for SomeBody or Anybody to take charge. Leaders take charge. Leaders subscribe to philosopher William H. Johnson’s notion that “If it is to be, it is up to me.” Indeed. As the wit said, “God may have given us the ingredients for Our Daily Bread but He expects us to do the baking.”

      No wonder Viktor Frankl, author and professor of psychiatry, advocated supplementing the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast of the United States with a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast. Frankl noted that “freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it lives in terms of reasonableness.”

     And led by SumBody!

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