Elevator Leadership – The Title Sums It Up, But I’ll Fill in the Details . . .
In some organizations you can ride to the top position by just shuffling onto the “Leadership Elevator.” In some cases other members will even carry you on board. Once you’re on the board, (uh… I meant to say “on board”), and the door closes, someone else will push the buttons for you.
One year later and you’re a big floor closer to the top. Now listen carefully. This is one of the few occasions when it makes sense to do something bold, insightful and unexpected. Volunteer to serve a term as Treasurer.
The other Board members will hoist you on their shoulders and carry you around the room singing and cheering. You will now be held in awe by the entire membership. Cool move.
Now miss the next two meetings. Any reasonable excuse will do because they’re still in love with you.
At the next meeting, feign confusion over how the books have been kept. (Not hard as you haven’t bothered to look.) Now use a little finesse to guilt the former Treasurer into doing most of the remaining year’s work in order to recover their reputation.
Another year passes; you’re a floor closer; and everyone, (especially the former Treasurer), wants to catapult you into the position of Secretary. Cautionary note: this position can also involve actual duties.
Helpful hint: Require all reports, comments, motions, votes, etc. to be emailed to you. Cobble them into something vaguely similar to Board minutes. Don’t overdo it. More than one great Treasurer or Secretary has been forced off the elevator and into the realm of real work. Yikes!
Another year rolls around and the leadership elevator has turned into a rocket sled. You’re a shoo-in for Vice President. Be careful. Some organizations make the Vice President Chair the annual conference.
If that’s the case make it clear that your workload has doubled and that there’s no way you can Chair the conference. People will understand… and be fearful if it were otherwise. A volunteer will appear because no one wants the conference to flop. Bonus benefit: they’ll still seat you at the Head Table for the Awards Banquet.
Guess what . . . the door chimes; it opens; you’re at the top floor and someone shoves the gavel in your hand.
Congratulations. Now what?
Well… in some cases it’s like bags of sand on a conveyor belt. Shortly after reaching the top we hear a loud “Kawump” as you drop onto a pile where your’re quickly covered and not seen or heard from again.
OK, I’m exaggerating. OK . . . not much.
So what’s my point?
Have you ever noticed those signs near the elevator door? I’m talking about the ones that warn you in big letters that in case of fire… you should NEVER take the elevator, but use the stairs instead.
Hmmmm….. When things get tough you can’t depend on the elevator to deliver the goods. That’s a sobering thought.
It turns out that most Doctors would recommend we take the stairs even if there is no fire. It would make us all healthier, (and our organizations would be a healthier too), if everyone made it a habit to work their way up instead of riding the elevator.
Every organization needs HEALTHY leaders and one way for all of us to be healthier in the future is to induce a little sweat and effort on a regular basis.
What a concept.
Here’s to creating stronger, healthier leaders