“Dude… it’s getting dark. How are we getting down?”
“What? It’s gonna get cold up here.”
I know. Did you ever earn a Polar Bear badge when you were a kid in scouts or anything?
Well, here’s the thing. I’ve never been to the top of a real mountain before, and I only have so much time, so I want to wring out as many experiences as I can.
“You’ve never been to the top of a mountain before? What the heck!”
I’ve been on some really tall hills, and some pretty dark forests, but I’ve never truly been to the mountains.
“I don’t know…”
Don’t trust me now?
“I don’t know…”
Isn’t that the very essence of follower-ship and leadership?
“I don’t know…”
Have we had any issues getting here, camping, making our way up here… I could have gone the whole trip without saying anything and you wouldn’t have been any wiser.
But then the lessons on the trip would not have been as memorable for you.
So… Do I have your attention now?
Besides… our next lesson will fit nicely and make a whole lotta sense now.
Let’s enjoy the view a bit longer, organize our minds, and start setting up a night camp… on the very top of the mountain.
Coffee is ready.
Do you remember the book I told you about… titled Creative Followership by past President of Chick-fil-A Jimmy Collins?
Yeah, once I discovered and ordered it the Pandemic cut in on deliveries and I believed the book to be lost, and that I would have to find and order another one.
But I waited patiently… and lo and behold… weeks later… there it was.
“Was it any good?”
Very. I learned a few new things, and had quite a few things that I already do, and have done, in my adult working career acknowledged… as he extolled those same attitudes and attributes in his book describing his Creative Followership philosophy.
The thing I want to talk about with you is what he calls “hiring a new boss.’
He explains, and I agree, that we are all basically volunteering to work for XYZ Company, “at will employment” it’s called. That means we can walk away whenever we want, AND we can be fired or let go just as easily by the company.
The trick, as he explains in his book… is for you to “hire” your next boss. You have the right and responsibility to thoroughly interview any company you apply to.
Do your homework on the company.
Have your questions streamlined and set in your mind about the kind of boss you prefer to work with.
Did you ask me any questions about my mountaineering skills when we talked about the trip?
What was it you hoped to gain from spending time with me?
“… Wisdom… about… life, how to be a man… how to learn to be successful.”
And none of that made you think of asking if I had any experience in the mountains?
“No… I just assumed…”
“I hate it when you give me that “cat-just-ate-the-canary” grin… what am I missing?”
That’s a lesson right there. Do you remember what it felt like to assume?
If you can understand that feeling then you can stop yourself from making some mistakes along the way. If you feel like you want to assume something you can then tell yourself, “Hey, can I verify this information that I am assuming is there?”
Jimmy Collins explains this also… in Principle 33 Never Assume What You Can Verify.
With a few quick interview type questions you could have verified what my intentions were for this trip.
A few others who wanted to go did ask a few questions, and when I explained my purpose and goals for the trip they politely declined.
You didn’t ask any questions… so I knew this trip would be worth it for both you and I.
“You set me up?”
“I’m not sure… I just feel like you pulled the rug out from under me.”
And why do you feel that way? My other outdoor skills are up to snuff. I’m confident in the woods. I was excited on the hike up.
“The way you talked… I guess… it made me feel like you’ve been here before.”
“Well… if it’s your first time… I feel… …”
Why? Because now you don’t trust me… or yourself.
If you were confident in yourself this wouldn’t be an issue. When you followed me you let go of all responsibility. You placed yourself in my hands. And now you realize your mistake… you realize you are not as confident as you thought you were.
The best follower and leader teams have two confident people well aware of each others strengths and weaknesses. Thus they are able to do more together than alone.
As far as your growth and my growth we have to become confident in ourselves so that we can “hire” our next boss understanding one is not over the other… they are a tandem, like a good set of Belgian work horses… pulling in the same direction, for the same goal and purpose.
I called my thoughts on being a follower… “Extreme Followership” because nobody wants to be considered a “slave” or even a “servant” to someone else.
But our next step is to consider who it is we really follow to begin with… it starts with what you believe.