I was in a seminar once, one of those get rich through real estate programs, where a speaker made the comment “blah… Only Dead Fish Go With The Flow… blah.” Obviously, he was motivating, or baiting depends on how you view it, to overcome their fears of doing something most people won’t and join their organization and buy their products.
For some reason that statement stuck in the recesses of my mind which surfaced suddenly during a meeting where there was a difference of opinion being expressed between two associates. Difference of opinion is definitely an understatement as they appeared ready to come to blows, which I was all for as I didn’t care for either one.
A small smile etched across my face as I pondered the effectiveness of the imaginary the statement projected and wondered how it might be applied to developing leadership qualities. The connotations of being compared to a dead fish are all negative, “he had a dead fish handshake.” Since nobody wants that stigma attached to them, the only acceptable action was to buy their product and walk out of the room with dignity.
However, as far as enhancing leadership qualities the exact opposite was true. This call for action relied on a normally intelligent person throwing caution and logic to the wind and proceeding on blind faith. A good leader will never discard logic and caution when dealing with important matters. He/She may be posed with a “lesser of two evils” decision, but they would never proceed forward blindly hoping the best would happen.
It also portrayed swimming up river, against the flow of general consensus, as being the obvious path a brave leader would take. In face of enormous odds, they’d challenge the decision vigorously and unyielding. Living to the beat of a different drum is nothing new, Edison, Ford, Rockefeller all faced and conquered the status quoi and became extremely rich and famous. They, however, didn’t buck normal trend without a thought out rational plan of why and how they were going to swim up stream.
In fact, one of Henry Ford’s most famous quotes was something like “I don’t have to be the smartest man in a particular subject, I hire the smartest man in that particular subject.”
So what does all this mean, is there something to be learned from situation? Most certainly. To become a better leader a person must not fear assuming a different position that most people consider correct. However, this lack of fear is not the result of the person being courageous to a fault, the lack of fear is created by the person’s intense research of the subject, immolating people who are great mentors and weighing the facts, swims upstream against the current.
His/Her motives are not to be cantankerous, flighty or argument, but rather to guide and motivate the others in a direction they firmly believe is the correct path to take.
By Nathan Dean