Leaders Know How Quickly Things Change

Large mound of snow at the edge of a street

Yesterday, I was in the Sonoran Desert. Today, I’m in Southern New England. What’s the big deal? Truth be told, there’s no big deal. There’s no story. Nothing here. Due to advances in technology during the last 100 years or so, any of you can travel around the world in a relatively short period of time. It happens every day.

A few years ago, we lived in the Philippines. To get back to the East Coast of the United States, it took a couple days of travel, accounting for the time required to get to the airport, switch planes, etc. If one had a personal, private jet, they could travel from Southeast Asia to New York City much quicker. But alas, I had no private jet, so I flew from Manila to Seoul to Los Angeles to Atlanta. The trip took, essentially, two days. And it was exhausting, even flying business class internationally and first class domestically.

I spent the last couple weeks in Phoenix on “personal business.” This means I had some family matters on which I wanted to focus. I won’t go into all the details since it was “personal” but I will mention that the weather, while I was there, was hot, unseasonably hot, even for Phoenix!

The last few days prior to leaving the Valley of the Sun, daytime highs were in the mid-90s (Fahrenheit)! Even for Phoenix, this was warm for this time of year. Typically in mid-March, Phoenix sees temperatures in the 70s, not the 90s. It was warm. And sunny. A few times throughout the day, I sat outside listening to the songbirds and enjoying the warmth. During my stay in Phoenix, my “hometown” in Connecticut received almost 20” of snow. In fact, my return flight from Phoenix to Hartford was delayed several days because of the nor’easter.

Today, 5 days after the storm, we still have significant snow on the ground. Temperatures are not in the 90s. They’re in the 30s. Yesterday I was wearing shorts and flip-flops. Today I am wearing jeans, a long sleeve shirt and a jacket.

Some of you travel frequently and know what I mean. You can leave a tropical location in the morning only to arrive in wintery, alpine conditions by nightfall. This quick change in climate if facilitated by modern technology.

Great leaders, like world travelers, know how quickly things change. And they’re prepared. They’re prepared to deal with ambiguity. They’re agile. They’re responsive. They know how to adopt quickly and deal with unexpected change.

In business, in the home, on the athletic field and on the battlefield, conditions change and change quickly. Great leaders know how to respond. They’re not surprised. They plan and adopt. They’re responsive. They’re not caught off-guard.

Yesterday, in Phoenix, I went out to breakfast with family and friends. I was wearing shorts and a short-sleeve t-shirt. Upon returning to my parents’ house, I changed into jeans, a long-sleeve shirt and my vest. Though it was hot in Phoenix, I knew it was cold in Harford. I knew how quickly things change. I knew the weather in Hartford was not the same as in Phoenix. I was prepared. I had a plan.

Have a great week and remember to be prepared. Great leaders know how quickly things change. And they’re ready. Be a great leader.

is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]LeadStrategic.com.


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