Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's in your backpack?

A lot of Leadership literature talks about the benefit of reflection time. Here’s my talk:

You walk through your life carrying two things: A briefcase and a backpack.

Your briefcase contains all that makes you a decent manager. The Powerpoints, the Excel spreadsheets, the calendar, the business knowledge, the budgets and the accounting. And more. Everything is well organized, accessible and in file folders and you can easily have a look when you’re on the move. Right now, the briefcase has the logo of your company on it.

Your backpack contains all that make you a decent leader. Your relationships, your experiences, your listening skills, your passion, your care, your delegation skills – all that make you a decent human being. Everything in a backpack is a bit helter-skelter, it is not well organized, it’s a little chaotic and not easily accessible. You know that if you want to access what’s in your backpack, you have to stop, sit down, take the backpack off, put it in front you and dig a little.

If you don’t take time to reflect – you miss a lot of what you already have. If you go to leadership programs or read leadership literature and fill up your backpack and do not take time to use it, why bother? You are just carrying dead weight.

It’s all there – you just have to search for it in your backpack.

Here’s my challenge to you:

What if you – for the next three weeks – take 15 minutes every day to reflect? NOT while you’re driving or cycling or doing anything else. Just having a conversation with yourself about yourself. Asking question like: “What have I learned so far in life about leadership? What is in MY backpack? How to develop me and my team?”

I’d be thrilled if you sent me an email ( and told me what it was like to reflect.

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