Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July goatwalking - Leadership lessons

When I go goatwalking, I am the leader.  Before we start out, I plan a route that takes into account the amount of time we have, the weather, the insect and plant life of the season, and my mood.  Usually, we follow my planned route, but not always.  We might be distracted by something particularly pleasant or interesting along the way, or I might get a lesson in leadership.

Goats make excellent followers.  I try to be more like them when I am being a follower myself, and to let them train me to be a better leader.  They let me lead them from out in front or behind by keeping an eye on me and drifting in whichever direction I do.  They move along on my chosen route--unless I try to take them somewhere that they don't want to go.

If I have selected a bad route (too long, too difficult, boring, not enough food, too many bugs, etc.), they simply stop following and I suddenly find myself walking alone.  At that point, it's time to reevaluate my plans.  I determine what I've done wrong, bo back to where they're waiting, and head off in a new direction.  If I got it right, they'll follow again; otherwise, I have to try a third time.  I mustn't fail the third time.  They will abandon me and go their own way.

I can't help thinking that we'd have a better society and better leaders if we all practised being goatlike followers.

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