When your leadership focus is derailed by a …. Squirrel!

Have you ever seen the movie Up?  In the movie there is a talking dog that chatters away until he sees a squirrel. Instantly all other conversations and thoughts cease and he yelps “Squirrel” and turns his head to watch the squirrel.

Several years ago I attended a live auction to raise funds for a charity.  One of the items on the auction was unique piece of jewelry that mot of us ladies were imagining as our own before the auction started.

When the bidding started I sat up and paid more attention, wondering who would walk away with that piece.

Like with most auctions, there were several people willing to make opening bids, but the number of active participants quickly narrowed.

Soon there were just two men, each seated by their beautiful wives, on the opposite sides of the room in a bidding contest.

As the bidding grew more intense, I became fascinated with the body language of both men and their wives.

  • Couple A: The wife appeared to be encouraging her husband to keep bidding and obviously wanted her man to put some heart into getting that item for her.
  • Couple B:  The wife was looking more and more uncomfortable with each bid.

As the price climbed, Husband A looked like he was struggling to stay “in the game,” and Husband B was so focused on winning he was like a dog with a bone.

Both men were so absorbed in their own thoughts that they had forgotten who they were trying to purchase the gift for.

Eventually Husband A stopped bidding.  And Husband B triumphed.

  • Wife A looked really disappointed.
  • Wife B looked really embarrassed.

And neither man noticed.

Although both men started bidding for their wives, both had lost their focus.  One appeared to be more focused on honoring his wallet while the other one was more focused on honoring his own ego.

Leadership can be just like that.

We can start out with good intentions deeply desiring to serve God, our families, our employees and/or our cause…

But it does not take much to become so distracted by our challenges, or our dreams of success that our focus changes from others to ourselves.

I ‘m not pointing fingers, because I’ve done it…  more than once. 

I have become so consumed by a challenge I was trying to figure out that I didn’t listen intently when my husband, sisters, parents, friends or team members shared a story.

  • So instead of communicating my love for them, I was communicating that my challenge was more important they were.

I have become so distracted by successes that I started to believe all the positive press and thought I deserved it.

  • And when pride moves in, humility moves out.  …Making it impossible to serve the people or the cause with my whole heart.

Both situations erode trust with those you love and are called to serve; and make you less effective.

Your Turn!  iStock_000009905754XSmall

Have you ever made those mistakes?

What did you learn?

What do you do today to protect your leadership from those distractions now?

If this post reminds you of yourself, and you’re wondering what to do…  Check out this link.


Image Credit:  iStock

President, Giana Consulting

Chery believes that:
• Anyone can be a leader.
• Everyone knows something that the rest of us don’t.
• We all need to leave our workplaces, communities, nation and world – better than we found them.

Those beliefs caused her to instigate change from every position she ever had and continually provided opportunities to lead system-wide change from the middle and the edge of organizations.

Her faith and my firm belief that leaders need to walk their talk were the reasons she agreed to move to a part of the world that she once feared. As an expat she embraced daily opportunities to meet and learn from people that represent the nations in our world.

Today Chery is The Founder of Giana Consulting, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

She leverages true leadership stories and expat experiences to inform, inspire and emphasize life skills that cause her clients to be more energized and productive.

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3 thoughts on “When your leadership focus is derailed by a …. Squirrel!

  1. I swear there are so many days when I feel just like Doug so I totally appreciate this post. Thanks for sharing and for letting me know that I’m not alone in my squirrel distractions 🙂