Getting on the Balcony – Ronald A Heifetz

Image result for balcony and dance floorLeadership is both active and reflective. One has to alternate between participating and observing. Walt Whitman described it as being ‘both in and out of the game’. …

Although the principle may be easy to grasp, the practice is not. Rather than maintain perspective on the events that surround and involve us, we often get swept up by them. Consider the experience of dancing on a dance floor in contrast with standing on a balcony and watching other people dance. Engaged in the dance, it is nearly impossible to get a sense of the patterns made by everyone on the floor. Motion makes observation difficult. Indeed, we often get carried away by the dance. Our attention is captured by the music, our partner, and the need to sense the dancing space of others nearby to stay off their toes. To discern the larger patterns on the dance floor – to see who is dancing with whom, in what groups, in what location. And who is sitting out which kind of dance – we have to stop and get to the balcony.

– Ronald A Heifetz from ‘Leadership without Easy Answers’

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