Byron's Babbles

Break The Boulder Up To Move It!

rock-hawk-1I use the term, “Break the boulder up to move it” all the time when referring to big opportunities (what I also call challenges). We look at opportunities as one big boulder that just can’t be moved. Therefore I always remind everyone that if we can break it down into manageable sized rocks we can overcome the challenge or make the opportunity a success. As a farm kid I have moved my share of rocks and still do on our farm today. I know that if you do not get the rocks out of the way they can tear up farm machinery in seconds. Therefore it is always better to move rocks when they become obstacles than to go around them.

Continuing with the original metaphor, when we come across a rock blocking our path, there are two possible solutions to the problem. You can try to move the rock, which if small enough is the best solution. But, if the rock is massive (boulder sized), you can be clever and start breaking the rock into smaller, easier to move pieces. Our challenges as leaders are similar to this metaphor. It is smart to break these opportunities down into smaller pieces. This is done by using a varied set of view angles. The ideal process would be to break the challenge into six to twelve different questions or parts. These parts will help to tickle the imagination and trigger thoughts and ideas of those on your team for solving the larger issue. These smaller fragments are not meant to solve the whole issues that will in turn lead to a “boulder sized” solution.

“The best way out of a problem is through it.” ~ John Parker Stewart

My thoughts above were inspired while reading Lesson #20, “The Farmer and the Rock” in img_226552 Leadership Lessons: Timeless Stories For The Modern Leader by John Parker Stewart. This was the story of a farm family that for generations had been farming around a rock they thought was to big to move. Finally, one day the younger farmer got mad and hook the tractor and chain to the rock and it broke up and was easily moved. Do you as a leader plow around obstacles, or do you confront it and get it out of the way for good?

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