Navigating Class 5 Rapids

By Clyde C. Lowstuter

The fWhite Water Adventureirst rule of white water rafting is that everyone paddles. No one can be laid-back and “go with the flow.”  The reality is that you cannot effectively steer unless you are traveling faster than the water.  You’ve got to attack the river in unison.  If the paddlers get out of sync, the raft flips.  The lesson on the raging river:  don’t lose your focus, commitment, or belief in yourself.

Business teams are no different.

Every day you and your team negotiate the turbulent, uncertain waters of increased competitiveness, rapidly changing technologies, relentless customer needs, strident board demands, and the vagaries of a struggling worldwide economy.

As a leader, it is your job to continually calibrate and drive a compelling vision, while aligning the team.  It is your job to masterfully guide the team on this journey fraught with ambiguity, danger, . . . and thrilling challenges.  Running rapids requires everyone to raise his/her anticipatory skills, preparing to respond in unison to emerging threats and opportunities.  So it is with you and your team gearing up to be successful, no matter what the conditions.

In your next team meeting take a moment and discuss:

  • How well is your team, individually and as a group, aligned and unified in achieving the group’s KPI’s and the organization’s goals?
  • How will you prevent your team from capsizing?

For you and your team, I say to you . . . PADDLE ON!


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Don Skelton

    When approaching a class five issue always consider taking an alternative path. Carrying your raft around the rapid sometimes the prudent choice!

  2. Clyde Lowstuter

    Don – you are so right! Spoken like a man who has traversed down a few frothy chutes in his day. . . Sometimes you can portage around a scary stretch of river and other times you’ve got to go down it. Either option requires an assessment of the risk / rewards and the level of talent, commitment, focus, and probability of success. As in life and in business, there are always alternatives to choose, risks to be managed, and a price to be paid.
    Warm regards, Don – Clyde

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