Sooner or later in your leadership journey, you are going to run into some mountains. They might be in the form of government agencies, regulating bodies, or other large bureaucracies placed in your path. Regardless of the mountain’s form, your followers are going to look to you to see how to respond. Basically, you have three options.
You can try to avoid the mountains all together. While this at first might seem like the best path, this tactic will certainly add days and miles to your journey, sometimes taking you so far off course that you lose sight of your original destination. The path may be easier, yes, but where is it going to take you?
You can try to go through the mountain. You’ll have lots of company on this one. So many leaders have convinced themselves that if they just push hard enough, often enough, they will be able to break through to the other side. News flash … Mountains are designed to stand firm. So no matter how many times you bang your head against the mountain, or curse it, or try to chip away at it, the progress is going to be slow and measured in inches. If your ultimate goal is to move mountains, perhaps this is a noble effort and more power to you. Unfortunately, in far too many cases, leaders make the mountain the obstacle that keeps them from reaching their destination. It’s the mountain’s fault.
The third option is to forge a path along the mountain. Sure it takes effort. The trail will likely have twists and turns that seem to make no sense. That’s the way with mountains. So are you going to try to change the mountain, or are you going to get to your destination on the other side? And believe it or not, there may even be people you thought were headed to the same destination as you who will stand at the base of the mountain and call you fool-hardy. Who will tell you to be reasonable and come back down to help them chip away at the mountain. Forge on. If you see a way to get to the other side, to your real goal, take it. There is more than one way to conquer a mountain. More often than not, what looks like the “logical” or most popular way may not make the most sense for you and your organization. So be a leader. Work with what the mountain gives you if that’s what will get you to the other side, to your ultimate destination.
It’s up to you. Avoid the mountains, try to go through them, or travel along side them. Pick your path, and maybe I’ll see you on the other side.