Byron's Babbles

Applying A Little Heat

This morning, I walked to the barn to do the morning feeding and the thermometer 🌡 read 4 degrees Fahrenheit. I don’t mind the cold, but I always have to be cognizant that many things don’t work right, or at least need a little help to work right in this kind of weather. One of those things are frost free water hydrants.

For those who don’t know what that is, it is a water hydrant (pictured here) that is buried below the frost line and is designed so the on/off valve is at the bottom below the freezing point. Then when the water is turned off the water in the pipe drains down and out, and amazingly, no frozen water line. These are a great farm invention. They do, however, get a little moisture built up around the mechanism at the top for turning the water on and off.

Actually they are designed to withstand pulling the handle and turning them on, but I am always nervous in this kind of weather doing that. As we all know, things just have a way of going wrong in sub-freezing temperatures. Our way of mitigating this is to take a small hair dryer and running it for about 30-60 seconds on the valve. This small amount of heat makes it work perfectly – like it was 80 degrees out.

This morning, as I was doing this, I was reminded how a little heat being applied is good for all of us. I have always said that the best way to learn and grow is to be doing/trying something that causes a little fear. In fact I have blogged about it several times in: Leadership Lessons Of Mt. St. Helens, Telling Your Leadership Story, and Finding Your Leadership Voice just to mention a few.

As leaders we need to make sure we are enabling our team members to experience growth through real time projects and responsibilities that will, at times, cause a little “heat” and “pressure” to grow. The most effective leaders create unique experiences for themselves and others by taking calculated risks that put them and team members into situations that challenge their thinking, expand their perspective, make them feel vulnerable, and enable them to mature throughout the process.

Now, I am not saying throw yourself or your colleagues to the wolves. I am saying to act as the “hair dryer” I have used as the metaphor for this post and apply a little heat for growth to occur. This will allow us and those we serve to take key learnings from each of these experiences and apply them to similar circumstances we may be faced with. One of the ways I have learned to do this effectively is with task forces. Task forces gives teams of individuals a chance to form a community and create something for the organization.

The heat has been applied in my own personal life from being involved in turning schools around. Turnaround work can be one of the most thrilling and challenging adventures you can experience. Let me tell you, the “hair dryer” is pretty powerful and on high at all times. Turning around a struggling or failing situation teaches us to maximize the full potential of opportunities present in any situation and stretch the individual capabilities of ourself and other people.   We learn that there is always a way out and forward when there is an effective use of tools, resources, people, and money.

So, instead of letting a little heat, pressure, or fear intimidate us; let’s welcome and embrace it. Remember, sometimes a little heat from the “hair dryer” can be good for us all.

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