Good leadership starts with a plan that works

One morning a couple of weeks ago, as my wife, Carol, was walking out the door for work, I heard a thump on the sliding glass door. I jumped up and saw a female cardinal lying on the deck. This accident is not uncommon and nine out of 10 of the birds who fly into the glass doors survive to fly away.

Immediately, I was surprised to see a sharp shinned hawk land on the railing. We saw one another at the same time. Excitedly, I called Carol who tiptoed back into the house to see this rare sight. With all the commotion, the hawk took flight landing above on an outstretched limb of a walnut tree.

Carol was distressed that the hawk would swoop down and claim the cardinal for breakfast so I stood by the glass door guarding the wounded bird. Our cat was insistently whining to go out and enjoy some easy pickings. Progressively, the cardinal strengthened, straightened itself, and then took flight. We watched the hawk with binoculars as it sat on its perch and then flew away to continue its hunt.

I went about my business for a few hours when I once again heard the familiar thump echo through the house. I had never heard that sound twice in one day. I rushed over to the glass door and saw a male cardinal on the deck. It was not as lucky as its female counterpart earlier and appeared to have broken its neck with the glass door collision.

The sharp shinned hawk swooped onto the railing of the deck and pranced back and forth impatiently. Since this cardinal appeared dead, I stepped out of the view of the hawk and watched it glide onto the deck and fetch its meal.

I am sure the hawk was chasing both cardinals. It seemed to me as though the hawk was herding the birds into the window.

Hawks are very efficient hunters. They are focused and have a plan of action for success. In the situation above, the sharp shinned hawk carried out its plan to the letter. The unexpected factor was me. I prevented the hawk from cashing in on a successfully executed plan. But the hawk did not give up and finally realized a well-earned meal with its persistence.

So several of the elements of good leadership were present, a plan, near perfect execution and persistence. Leaders who accomplish their goals usually understand these criteria for leadership.

If you are interested in birds, you may want take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count that happens every February. This year it is from Feb. 16 to 19. Go to http://gbbc.birdcount.org and get started. You can collect birds and send in your list each day. I will be participating.

R. Glenn Ray, Ph.D., is the president of RayCom Learning. To learn more about Ray’s completely revised, third printing of The Facilitative Leader: Behaviors that Enable Success, visit his Web site, www.raycomlearning.com or call him at 740-629-4536. Everyday Leadership appears each Wednesday on the Business page.


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