Leading from the Balcony
Most of us find ourselves dancing to a technical beat: incoming and outgoing text messages, emails, tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn updates. The beat is relentless, indifferent to people at our door, events and trainings to attend, or reports to write. We sit in meetings with an eye to the smart phone and one ear to the conversation. On the one hand, we long for a rest—an interval of silence. On the other, we’re as addicted to the accelerando of technology as we are to our morning caffeine.
But it’s hard to lead from the dance floor. A number of thinkers and writers, among them renowned negotiator William Ury, talk about the importance of going to the balcony. From the balcony, we can see the big picture, the patterns, and the players. From the balcony, we can ask:
  • Is this boogie or ballet? (What are we doing? What is our culture?)
  • Are we dancing to same music? (Are we aligned?)
  • Who are these dancers? (Who are my stakeholders? What’s important to them?)
  • Could we design a new dance? (What opportunities do we have?)
  • Is this the dance for me? (Is this work consistent with my values, needs, and interests?)
In six weekly small group sessions, participants in THINC’s Leading for a Change are learning ways to go to the balcony. They are exploring a current challenge and designing a thoughtful plan that takes into consideration their leadership, assumptions, organizational culture, and stakeholders. They are discovering and practicing new tools. They leave each session with a broader perspective and renewed energy. They are becoming leaders who engage their employees, not just manage them.
Could you benefit from a balcony experience as the next step in your leadership development? Call us!
RUTH / LEADERSHIP / CULTURE / Oct 12, 2011, 4:56pm / Comments (0)
Ideas worth sharing.


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