How can you help others to be successful? (one of the key aspects of leadership). And what does that mean? Conventional versus unconventional (thank you, Nick!). Detours, side-alleys, failures and all. Lots of great discussions in the past weeks all around success (posts see here and here and lots more verbally). The leader as the mountain guide.

It got me thinking (uh-oh). Maybe what’s constraining here is the metaphors we use. Success = up (and up there is better than down here). The ascent requiring a path, linear (if not always exactly straight), with cross-roads (aka decisions) that can lead you towards or further away (with a need to possibly reroute, satnav-all-in-a-twist). Stumbling blocks to overcome, wagons to fall off and get back on, valleys to cross, crosses to bear… You can keep milking this, you’ve heard them all in probably every leadership training on the planet.

What are we missing? Are we just mapping the conventional (while hoping for the best-case-unconventional outcome)? This is bound to make things a lot harder for anything and anyone that doesn’t fit in there.

Of course, our thoughts run through language and that comes with these kind of constraints (and that’s why it is great to speak more than one language, to not forget it might all well be different).

What sorts of conversations would we need to have? What new metaphors would be helpful here? What better stories can we tell?

What great examples do you have? Please share!

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