This week we are reading Leadership and the Art of Surfing by Rick Hansen. We are focusing on Leadership because our Summer Master’s Course starts on Monday. Registration is currently full, but we are thinking of offering it again in July so stay tuned!
Clients and employees often ask me, “How can I become a great leader?” I usually put the question back on them. Most people know what they want to see in a great leader (and a lot about what they don’t want to see). But when it comes to developing these skills personally, many people are lost. Hansen says there is a need to refine your idea constantly. In the book, the chapters are presented as rules. He focuses much of his ideas around a surfer analogy. I am not a surfer, but I think the ideas are clever and well thought out, and maybe we do have a lot to learn from the surfer mindset.
I really liked this presentation of the two mindsets from the book:
“The organization of the future will be based on the principles of adaptability rather than predictability. It will be an open organization that considers process more important than structure and human interaction more effective than impersonal chain of command hierarchy.” (Dr. Barbara Mink) There are two types of mindsets that stand out more these days as we become increasingly intertwined with this flux. They are very separate and distinct. The surfer is adaptive and flexible and innovates when flushed with disturbances and complexity, and the controller force-fits things into prescriptive functions with strict marching orders. There is a clear line between the surfer and the controller mindset. They act and think very differently.
The Surfer Mindset:
1. Paddles to the wave.
2. Interacts with the surf.
3. Creates on the wave.
The Controller Mindset:
1. Measures the wave.
2. Observes from a perch.
3. Predicts the next wave.
How a Surfer thinks:
1. Dynamically innovative.
2. Randomly interconnected.
3. Unpredictably Evolving.
How a Controller thinks:
1. Perfectly planned.
2. Hierarchically top-down.
3. Manipulate and control.
Do you have a surfer mindset?
Leaders need to teach their teams to surf. As the cover says: As leaders, we need to move our teams out of the “box” and into the wave. Thoughts about organizations are obsolete. In this time of rapid change, we need leaders and organizations that are able to quickly respond to an ever-changing environment.
More on the surfer mentality:
“When he is in this stance and can find the invisible rhythm of the wave, he then begins to converge on its shoulder and methodically and creatively “carves” up and down the face of the wave like a sculptor driven with purpose and vision.”
It is my goal to help leaders find purpose and vision.
All this talk of waves and surfing makes me think of summer reading. Anyone who reads this blog knows that we love to read. We usually just talk about business books on this space, but we love reading all types of books. Summer reading is the best kind of reading. We are fortunate enough to live near the ocean, and I don’t think there is anything quite as lovely as reading at the ocean. What’s on your summer reading list? If you need any suggestions on summer fun reading, I think this is a great list of 61 titles that are already earning attention—and raves. It will give you a good sense of the first novels coming out this summer.
Also, stay tuned for our July training schedule, due out early next week!
What are you currently reading?