"The factory of the future will have only two employees: a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment."
Prof. Warren Bennis

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 496

Estimated reading time:  3:30 minutes


Good morning from the Maple Leaf Lounge at Vancouver Airport. My early morning flight has been cancelled and I am still not sure I will get to Castlegar, which is fogged in, again. Such is travel in BC in March. I am very fortunate to be able to spend my waiting time in the comfort of the business class lounge here. Most people are not so fortunate.


My good fortune has got me thinking about humility. There is an interesting tendency appearing in the research about wealthy people being less empathetic. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-hutson/the-rich-are-differently-_b_2990395.html Part of this may be related to the narratives wealthy people tell themselves about their own unique and individual success. (here is Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s famous take on the subject, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcFDF87-SdQ ) Simply put, the wealthier I am, the more likely I will see myself as different (and more deserving) from others and that I will have a story about how my individual skills, gifts and strengths got me to where I am.


Take me for example; I sit comfortably ensconced in the Maple Leaf Lounge at YVR, with access to free food and drink, large seats, wi-fi, and TVs. When I board the aircraft later today I will be one of the first on and off the plane and my luggage will be one of the first off the plane as well. This is all due to my “status” as a frequent business flyer. I can easily fall into the assumption that this is all about me. I would be wrong. I so appreciate all of the perks that come with this status, but I need to keep in mind that other people have been working hard and making sacrifices themselves in order for me to be here. The airline employees who are part of a massive network that make air travel so safe and easy.  My team mates in the organizations I serve who ensure that I show up in hotel meeting rooms to find the right boxes with the right stuff at the right time; or who have worked long hours to design and build interventions and processes that make my job that much easier. My friends who all too often listen to me as I tell stories of late and cancelled flights, even though this is the first problem flight I have had in 20 flights so far this year. And of course my family, past and present who have had to make decisions, solve problems, deal with stuff while I have been flying back and forth across the country. While I enjoy the perks of my ‘status’, I did not get here alone. And neither did you.



May this week be filled with discovered humility and gratitude.