2013-10-13 Hand on Ship iStock_000010063419XSmallStay the course….

How often have we heard this phrase, and at same time, how often do we react to what is happening in the moment and as a result lose sight of where we were heading?

Most of us want to be flexible and responsive to our constituencies be they employees, customers, shareholders, family or friends. And when we set a new direction or introduce a new idea, the reality is, we are often met with resistance. Change is hard and most of us resist change. When met with resistance, it is tempting to retrench.

In my experience, when I resist this temptation and stay the course, I have been rewarded.

Just recently, a speaker was presenting a new concept.  Some folks in the room were able to see the relevance to their business, but a few were not. The ones that could not spoke up and what the speaker heard was “my content isn’t relevant, I need to move in a different direction”. And when he and I spoke during the break, we agreed instead to stay the course. In the end, we were glad we did. In talking with the members afterwards, the vocal ones explained, “I just wasn’t getting it. All I wanted was help in making it relevant”. The others said they found great value in what they heard.

And, then Diana Nyad, gave us the best reminder of all. She had a goal, she stayed the course, despite folks telling her, “it couldn’t be done” and she was too old. And, after several attempts, tweaks along the way, she did it!

Huge leadership lesson here for me: When the vocal minority speaks up, listen, evaluate, help them understand the mission and then stay the course. The flip side, is not to listen when they see you are on a collision course, and that is a topic for another blog.

Elisa K. Spain

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