I don’t know how I did it. I’m into my second week of an intense new job, getting up to speed with an extraordinarily sophisticated product, waking up before dawn to put in a full day before picking up the kids in the afternoon, and feeling flat-out exhausted most evenings. Still, somehow, somewhere, I found the energy to lead what might have been my best Parks board meeting yet.
I was dreading tonight’s meeting, knowing how behind-the-eight-ball I’ve felt over the past two weeks. The agenda was a heady one, with multiple votes to be taken on multiple projects. I thought we might be stuck there all night. The best I was hoping for was to get through it without nodding off in the middle of it. Honestly.
In spite of all this, though, everyone was in a jovial mood. The wisecracks were constantly flying, with everyone fair game for a little ribbing. With our packed agenda, we ran later than we usually do but no one seemed to mind. If that weren’t enough, every single vote tonight was unanimous. We have come together almost like one big family.
Where did all of this energy come from? Why do I feel so energized after meetings like tonight’s? I wish I knew these answers. A friend asked me tonight how I do this and my answer is I don’t know. It just seems to happen.
I was musing afterward that successfully leading a board (or any team, whether it be work colleagues, a sports team, or whatever) takes a light touch. It’s kind of like good sailing, where you just know what adjustment is needed in the sails to get the best performance. I imagine it’s also like leading a team of horses (like I would know, but humor me here), where you know the horses’ personalities and what it takes to get the best from each one. Good sports coaches do this constantly with their players. They know what it takes to get the best from each athlete, and – most importantly – how to put them in a position to succeed.
I’m not a coach (unless you count assistant coaching for little league baseball), I’ve never driven a team of horses, and I get to sail about once a year. Even so, every now and then I’ve seen magic happen in a meeting I’ve happened to lead. Few things to me are more fun than that.