Think Iditarod. Sometimes your role is that of the lead dog – Alpha. Pulling the load…strong, committed, loyal and dogged (no pun intended). Other times you’re in the driver’s seat…setting direction, navigating the landscape, calling the shots, and getting a little snow flung in your face as you have to adjust on the fly. And then, still other times, you find yourself stuck in the middle of the pack, taking direction from someone behind you and staring at the behind of another. You are no less important, just a key player stuck in the middle of an orchestrated attempt to achieve success.
Think oldest daughter’s wedding. From the time that daddy’s little angel determines the wedding date, dads fall into the middle of the pack. Mom is out front with strong direction. She is leading a whole host of opportunists who have heard that your little girl’s dream since she was 12 has arrived and, as a result, they have marked-up and lined up their wares for purchase. Your baby is shouting “mush,” and it is then that you realize that for the better part of six months, you will be staring at your paycheck stuffed in the bulging back pockets of an entire pack of folks who are going to make this day the most special day ever. They better.
And you know what? I’m alright with that. From the time she said, “Daddy, we’ve set the date,” until show time, I was keenly focused on only one thing: making my baby girl’s wedding day the very best it could be. I was a “surrogate” leader of sorts in charge of nothing more than writing checks and insuring the end was memorable for all of the right reasons. While daughter and mom would be focused on countless fittings, details, color schemes and what was borrowed and what was blue, I would not take my eye off of the vision. The “end” was what would be remembered, cherished and talked about for a lifetime. My guess was that the memories of the minutia in the “means” would fade with time. But the outcome – that will always be the glorious memory pressed in the pages of my daughter’s life.
Project management is important, and the people in charge of executing the plan are some of my favorite people in the world. Those “Alphas” out front are busting hump daily. They work hard. They’re dedicated, caring and capable. And the “boss” (my daughter in this case) is busy hooking together all of the puzzle pieces. Interestingly, so busy is the boss in getting the pieces put together that the final picture is the furthest thing from their mind. That’s where the visionary steps in, sights glued to how the picture looks once the pieces are all hooked together. Remember, the most important piece of any puzzle is the picture on the box. Without it, you have no idea where you are headed.
In addition to ensuring that my baby girl’s special day was indeed special, I also play the “visionary guy” as a leader of St. Louis Community Credit Union. I get the benefit of working with some of the finest Alphas I’ve ever met; folks committed to making sure that everyone they come in contact with leaves a little better off. Likewise there is a team of leaders shouting “mush” all day, every day, keeping us on task and on path. Me? I write checks and keep an eye on the vision: increasing our members’ standard of living and bettering their lifestyle.
By the way, the wedding was beautiful – almost as beautiful as my daughter.