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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Leadership lessons from my Back Yard

Hot is not the word to describe yesterday's Memorial Day.
What did I get myself into??
It was more like a scorcher.

Despite the heat, I took on a back breaking project and lived to write about it.
Yesterday, I had the bright I idea to cut down a tree, remove all of the branches, drag them in the woods behind my house, chop the tree up, remove about 100 stones (ranging from the size of large fist to a large head) all with no power tools. 
----Just me, a hatchet, a saw, a crow-bar and an axe. 

I love the little lessons God sends your way right in the middle of the mundane.

Below I will highlight several leadership lessons that I learned while transforming into The Axe man. 

It felt great to watch this big boy hit the ground!

1.  Preparation is Vital: 
Abe Lincoln said, "If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six sharpening my axe."  There is a powerful lesson entrenched into our 16th Presidents remark.  This lesson rang home yesterday as I began cutting some of the branches down with my hatchet.  I noticed that I was doing a lot of unnecessary work because the blade was dull.  My lack of preparation caused me to use more energy than I needed and since the day was hot enough to fry an egg, I was paying dearly for this oversight.
World Largest Tooth-Pic?  Na.

2.  Picking the right Tools:
As I mentioned above, I had everything that I needed to meet my desired goal.  The hatchet could reach small branches, the axe could thrash huge chunks of wood, the saw took off the trunk & the crow-bar ripped out roots.  Everything I needed was there.  Yesterday was a 1 man job, but in life it is improbable that you will accomplish much without the assistance of others.  This lesson also applies to teamwork.  Jim Collins, in his masterful book, Good to Great, teaches a concept that has stayed with me for years.
"Get the right people on the bus. The wrong people off the bus and the right people into the right seats."  This deserves a place on every leaders wall as a reminder of the importance of selective the right tools or people to accomplish the task.

Anthony the "Axe Man"

3.  Vision.  Get Some:
Before anything becomes a reality, it must first be a dream. Vision goes hand in hand with leadership because leaders are busy bringing about change.  Leadership looks to the future, leadership looks at problems in new ways, leadership brings life. This is what Wilferd Peterson meant when he said, "Big thinking precedes great achievement."  Where would America be without Washington?  Where would Scotland be without Wallace?  Where would African Americans be without King?  Leadership is a future oriented quality that is dedicated to bringing about change for the better.

4. Sweat:
Let's get real practical for a moment.  Your dream(s) should lead you to hard work.  I like to say, if your inspiration does not lead to perspiration, don't expect any fruition.  If you are not busy living out your dream, you are holding onto a delusion and need to wake up. It was Franklin D. Roosevelt that wisely stated, "Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” Look, you can sit around and talk all day about what you think should be done, but we both know that some people want things to happen, some others wish it to happen and others make it happen...

Good-bye roots!

This was the rock pile that had to be moved to make my dream a reality.

So you might be wondering, "why all the hard work?"

So me, my family & my friends can have a place to gather, share stories and foster memories.

3 comments:

Tor Constantino said...

Anthony, this was a great post about vision, strategy and execution - all for your family! Awesome!!!!

Anthony K said...

Thank you Mr. Constantino!

I appreciate the kind words of inspiration!

Matthew Scott K said...

Thanks Anthony-

Nice story and great points made! The fourth point is where many people choose to stop. Persistence creates sweat even when you hit another "root" in life. We just keep going knowing our vision will be created.