"The little I know, I owe to my ignorance."
Sacha Guitry

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The clouds outside are ominous, and I really hope that I'm able to fly home tonight. And I'm chuckling about how the ominous clouds outside reflect what for many has been an onimous time. The Canadian dollar plunging, oil prices plunging, not to mention the values of all those RRSPs!

I did experience a bright ray of sunshine on a course this week, learning under William P. Ryan of Harvard, talking about Governance as Leadership. (For those of you in credit union land, I'll be sharing more about Bill's work in CUDA workshops in the coming months). For the purposes of this short note, Bill suggested the following job description for leaders:

"The job of leaders is to figure out the job of a leader in a particular situation."

While at first blush this may look like a tautology, it struck me as being particularly wise. Yes, those of us who have lived through recession before will bring wisdom and insight to the present environment, however, we are not living in 1994, or 1987 or even 1929. As much as there are similarities, the leadership jobs in 2008 will require some new thinking, some new figuring out. And your job is to figure out what to do in your part of the world, with your resources, and with your people and their skills, knowledge and insight.

I might suggest an improvisational model is one that helps in these times: keep your eye on the big story, where are we trying to go? Work with your people to build their problem solving skills, the show is not entirely on your head. And learn to recognize that some scenes/projects/initiatives don't work and the best thing to do is end them, and move on.

I hope you find some time for yourself and time with your loved ones, this weekend.