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Let the Sunshine Through

Last weekend, I traveled to Topsail Island on the North Carolina shore and wondered if it would be warm enough to comfortably sit on the beach.  Packing up a beach chair, a book and a club soda, I wandered down to the sand. 

As I sat down, the sun warmed me enough to make it comfortable but not too hot. I felt like I was enjoying a perfect beach day. Then a cloud blocked the sun and all of sudden I was too cold to want to continue to sit. As the sun once again broke through the clouds, the warmth returned. 

This innocuous and daily event amazed me. How could a star 73 million miles away produce enough heat to allow me to enjoy the beach?  Even more amazingingly, how could a lowly cloud change the temperature so dramatically?

It made me think about leadership. In some ways a great leader should be like the sun. Her vision for the organization, her commitment to core values and to setting goals should be clear to the entire organization whether they are in close contact with the leader or not. A great leader is lighting the way for the entire organization.  

And that leader needs to ensure that her team is reinforcing that vision. For if they are not, a rogue team member can act like a cloud blocking the power of the leader’s vision. It is easy for a member of a team to dilute the leader’s messages and thus her effectiveness. 

A good team should be acting like a prism, reinforcing and concentrating the vision of the leader.  So the leader needs to ensure she is clear in her vision, core values and goals and ensure her team is reinforcing those messages to the rest of the organization. 

A little cloud can make the beach a chilly place.  


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