I love this Prime number 12 from Chris McGoff.  Dynamic – changing and moving and growing and present – Incompleteness – with holes in it.  It really describes a state where contributions are welcome.  The vision or goal is incomplete.  there is enough information to see the shape of the thing but room to contribute in a meaningful way.  What that does is allows people to own it.  The contribution is the key to ownership and champions are born of ownership.  The best leaders know about ships.  Carol Steen and I, when we taught leadership at the University of Lethbridge for 10 summers, used the ship metaphor a lot.

There is a fleet of ships called leader.  Ownership is one of the most important.  People take care of what they own and once they have CHOSEN to contribute they begin to develop that sense of pride and attachment that only comes from ownership.  Leaders do not need to have all the answers.  Sometimes they just need the right questions and to provide the right kind of opportunity for their followers to contribute… to fill in the blank or the holes in the Swiss cheese which is the metaphor that McGoff uses. So a leader who strategically allows for his followers to contribute to the vision he is creating wins in two ways.  He gains the loyalty and commitment of his followers and he likely has a better product at the end.

It’s interesting that no matter what they BEACH, the dynamic incompleteness concept holds.  The difference will be in the kind of hole each perspective or DO point will want to fill.  The excellent leader leaves the right kind of holes to allow for nine kinds of contribution.

Continuing my review of the Primes by Chris McGoff I found myself this week looking at number 7 – Commitment versus Attachment – which has a subtitle “Success is a state of being.”  I like the basic premise that if we attach ourselves to a result and we don’t achieve it that we run the risk of having an emotional response to the “failure”.  If we attach to the outcome then we let them determine our state.  For McGoff, Commitment has more freedom in it.  If you are committed to a way of being you can be that way no matter the results.  I get that.  Hold your plans and goals lightly and if you fall short remember the purpose and that YOU are not a failure.  Your results and your way of being ought not to be attached.  Sometimes I do think that creating a clear vision and committing to it, declaring it and acting boldly to make it real requires some emotional attachment.  it is often that emotional energy that makes the difference between setting a goal and achieving it.   I think it is important to attach yourself to a goal or a cause that you truly believe in.  Make it personal sometimes and work as hard as you can to achieve success.  I think really what McGoff is warning us about in this prime is that we think about SUCCESS a little deeper and make sure the measure of results does not necessarily equal success.  I am successful when I give it my all …  Shoot for the moon and land among the stars…. And that’s okay.  What state of being is success to you?  That will so depend on your BEACH.  BEACHs give us our perspective on the world and I believe they can be seen in our state of mind.  Identifying someone’s BEACH is easier when they are in a state…. no matter what the state is.  They may be attached or committed to outcomes and results and that is easier to see at a point where it is clear that the result is not the expected one.  You can learn a lot about WHAT someone is committed to when you can watch them fail (what ever that means).  Success and failure are both states of being and in my mind are defined nine different ways.  Being committed to outcomes keeps you working toward them and allows you to keep your perspective in the McGoff definition.  Being attached to the outcome might cause us to lose the perspective and behave in ways inconsistent with our REAL selves.

I say be mindful of what results you commit to and what you attach to.  Making the distinction gives you the freedom to choose.