Tesse Akpeki recently had a journey filled with vital lessons for managing situations. She shares these in her new blog.
The day of the conference arrived. I hadn't been to the Congress Centre for years so left extra early. I had a sense I was walking too far and asked a young man the directions. He responded by taking my map from me. Smiling he turned it in the opposite direction and explained I was off course because my map was upside down. He supported his revelation with an oral description of how to get there.
Moral 1: You may have a map but it needs to be held in the right direction to be a useful navigation tool.
I get to the venue and I am handed my badge, but then can't find it. I searched high and low, to no avail. I had a jacket on. It was a really hot day, so after three hours I took my jacket off only to discover that I had put my badge on my belt, and it was covered by my jacket.
Moral 2: What do we need to shed to arrive at our goal? What could possibly be getting in the way?
Going home, a couple in front of me at Euston station were looking at the destination screen. The woman asks: “Where is Platform 8 going? The man replies: “Platform 8 is going nowhere. It's been there all the time and has not moved for years.” I chuckle at this.
Moral 3: We can often have different interpretations of the same question. Are we asking the right question? How do we deal with ambiguity to arrive at a shared understanding?
By the way, my last presentation slide at the conference had the following tips - utilising board meetings strategically, flexibility and responsiveness, recognising issues that may be divisive, reviewing board performance and using a map to get there.
I recounted my upside-down map story. Roaring with laughter, one of the chairs commented: "I love metaphors!"