“The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.” -John Scully Former CEO of Pepsi and Apple Computers
The very act of leading and leadership requires a pioneer mindset. One that allows you to exist, maneuver, and motivate in separate planes at simultaneous times. Leaders must apply consideration and thought to the parallels of the present and of the future…acknowledging the present as you cast vision for the future. It requires a ‘foveae’ of focus for leadership…the same ‘foveae’ or center of focus that allows an eagle to see both forward and to the side synchronously.
In much the same way that the ‘eye’ of the eagle has the ability to see forward and to the side simultaneously, a leader must be out front providing the path and direction for those they lead…while serving and supporting side by side at the same time. The push and pull of leading. Ahead and alongside. Much like the eagle that matches itself so closely in size and shape to the human eye, yet has the sharpness and strength of vision four times that of our very own.
We have a tendency to think of leaders as charismatic, bigger than life figures. Most often, authentic leaders of influence are just like everyone else…they just don’t see things in the same way. They have a sharper picture of and for the future. A vision that most others haven’t considered or even contemplated. Much like the eagle that can spot a small animal moving a mile away…they have the ability to deploy their eagle ‘eye’ across the horizon of the organization and pinpoint direction and next steps.
They have an uncanny ability to create a vision of the future that ignites the hearts and minds of the organization and all within it. They can turn a spark of an idea into a scorching forest fire of innovation and change. They know how to kindle and fan the flames of motivation in an intrinsic manner. They provide us with a view of future far better than the one we have imagined…and provide the path to make it real in our minds. They are the fire-starters and vision casters. They are the leaders with the eagle ‘eye’.
David, this post is huge. Your analogy provides an excellent definition of leadership. I like the delicate balance illustrating the fact that leaders must move ahead to build the laser-like & focused vision while being along side staff members developing relationships that guide the staff to the place where they, not the leader, turn the spark into a wildfire. Many leaders should read this post in addition your blog. You have a niche for writing through analogies. Thanks for sharing.