Last week I was telling a friend about my new blog site and he asked where I came up with the name. You may wonder too, so here it is…
I’m not really sure who gave me the gift. All I remember is that I was fascinated by the boomerang in my hand. Sleek, beautiful, and powerful there was no doubt that this cool tool could do remarkable things… and cause incredible damage. And indeed, it almost did.
With a few of my brothers and my next-door neighbor, John in tow, I took the boomerang into the backyard. With the skill of a cross-eyed aborigine, I threw the boomerang as hard as I could into the sky. What a sight! It gracefully took off and soared for what seemed like 200 yards! And then like an angry wasp, it reversed course and started coming back at us… fast!
Fortunately, we all scattered at the last moment and avoided getting creamed by the boomerang. I think my mom who was watching from the kitchen window saw the imminent danger we were potentially facing and from that day forward, that very cool tool, which no doubt could perform incredibly well if used correctly, turned into a piece of art that sat on my bookshelf – protecting me and others from my next throw.
Many years later, I found myself sitting in a leadership meeting hearing my leaders talk about how our people didn’t trust their decisions, respect them, weren’t honest with them, and simply didn’t understand the pressure that was upon their shoulders to drive results. Their comments about our people and what they were and weren’t receiving from them caused me to reflect on the great leaders of my past.
I realized that those leaders proactively “threw out” incredibly important values that truly drive one’s self-worth – Trust, Respect, Honesty, Empathy, Integrity and Accountability. And they didn’t do it because some book told them this was a good way to lead, but because within the core of their heart, soul, and mind, they believed it was THE way to lead. Not surprising, their engaging leadership was returned to them many times over in my performance and that of my peers complete with a deep, shared love for our organization, our culture, and for them as leaders.
And at that moment the analogy of leadership being like a boomerang – the Leadership Boomerang – was born.
While I still practice in some way every day to better my skill, I’ve proactively “thrown out” the Leadership Boomerang in organizations of 5 to 3,000 over the past couple of years. And while my throws certainly didn’t generate 100% success, more often than not my teams have excelled. I believe it’s because people gravitate and fully embrace the principles of the Leadership Boomerang that my leadership teams have embodied and thrown out – Trust, Respect, Honesty, Empathy, Integrity, and shared Accountability. When you think about it, who doesn’t?
For me, the Leadership Boomerang has been a powerful leadership approach that has driven an engaging culture, flawless execution, and enduring success of companies, brands, and most importantly to me, the people I and my leadership teams have served.
As such, I couldn’t think of a better name for my blog site – Leadership Boomerang. My goal is to post stories each week that speak to the great, and the not so great, examples of strong leadership, engaging culture, and flawless execution I have experienced and observed throughout my career in the hopes that these stories help all of us, me included, think just a little bit more about how we lead.
And of course, if you’d like to know more about how to successfully throw out the Leadership Boomerang to your team or would like to discuss how you can practice your throws, just drop me a line. I’d love to help… as long as my Mom isn’t watching!