I noticed a quote by Simon on the website of a Company I’ve come to respect. As I wrote a few articles for this company’s blog, ProductCraft, I started to reach out to leaders within the organization to talk about leadership, in the military and in product. When I managed to get on the calendar of the CEO I figured I had better finally get around to reading the books by the thinker they’ve quoted on their website.
I assumed I had a good grasp of the gist of what Simon thought. As a Marine I felt we were pretty well aware of how critical the Why of any given mission is. We understand deeply, in our bones why it is that leaders eat last. I was pretty sure I understood how his ideas mapped to my understanding. I even joked that Simon had just lifted his ideas from us, the Marines.
Map was definitely the right word to be using. See, a map abstracts the real world into something simple and consumable. it gives a rough analogy and unless you’ve seen the real terrain and are able to recall it with the representation of the map you’re doing a lot of imagining, and you’re definitely quite wrong in what you’re thinking.
I don’t have a monopoly on understanding leadership. Nor does the Marine Corps which taught me leadership. Nor does Simon and his merry band of Igniters and Optimists. But we are all observing something that is true. Something that is real. There is a truth of leadership and we all get to see bits and pieces of it. And when you find a person, a group of people, a book, a podcast, an asset that encodes a piece of that truth it is astounding. There is something deep within each of us that recognizes it and it expands our understanding. It connects our map to the terrain of reality a little more clearly and we know the world better.
‘Let us all be the leaders we wish we had.‘