The Razor’s Edge Is In The Being

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The Razor’s Edge Is In The Being

On January 15th 2009 US Airway Flight 1549 from New York’s LaGuardia airport to Charlotte, North Carolina got up close and personal with some birds.  Engines don’t like birds so that brought an abrupt end to the flight.  We’ve probably all heard the rest, Captain Sullenberger and his crew calmly brought the plane to rest on the Hudson River.  The tapes released revealed the exact communication between the Captain and the tower and showed the razor’s edge.


A good training course can teach you what you need to know, how to do it, they can even suggest optimal states of being, like calmness and courage.  Yet when it’s happening for real as long as you do the right things, your state can be forgiven.  Imagine if we’d heard the tapes and he was doing a Gordon Ramsey to air traffic.  As long as the outcome was the same we’d have eventually forgiven the emotional state, having acknowledged the severe pressure.  And would there have been awards, continued praise and film ideas, I don’t think so. Would there have been a call to improve training, probably.


Words often attributed to great leaders include calm, courage and humility.  You can’t teach these, you can ask for them but the individual has to learn them their way.  Next week I’m running a course on courage, you’ll leave knowing how to do courage.  Rubbish, no one does courage, you can only be courageous, the clue is in those little words do / be.  They’re not skills you learn, they’re qualities you develop and grow.

Being v Doing

There are 2 types of crisis.  One’s like the above where you can practice and prepare yourself for it, and you KNOW what to DO.

The other is the unforeseen, where you might not even know what to do, so you’ll do your best.  In both cases though what will live on as the legacy of your leadership is who you were BEING whilst you were DOING what you did.

Let’s back up from the extreme and move in to everyday territory.  As a leader you’re going to be dealing with uncertainty on a regular basis.  That’s what separates leadership from management.  What will help is if you remember two things:-

1) When you don’t know what to do, it’s who you’re being that will inspire trust, faith and followship in those you lead.

2) When you’re not getting results and you catch yourself saying “I know about that”, to your coach for example, don’t be offended if they reply with “I know you know, what I’m missing is any evidence that you’re doing this?”  You see to know and not do, well you might as well not know for all the good it’s doing you.

The balance of power, the degree of effectiveness is in the being part of the equation – the razor’s edge.

Over the next few weeks give yourself some space to reflect on who you’re being whilst you’re doing what you’re doing, and if you only changed who you’re being what impact would that have on the results?

2023-11-07T13:50:49+00:00By |Growth, Leadership|
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