Enthusiasm is the greatest asset you can possess, for it can take you further than money, power, or influence.”
~ Dada Vaswani
[su_dropcap style=”flat”]E[/su_dropcap]VERY SUMMER, I try to make a trip across the pond, and last month, I was fortunate to return to Switzerland and hike the Engadine Valley. I love to travel, and I have to admit there are three stages of flying that I am not particularly fond of – take offs, turbulence, and landings. I liken these three stages to transitions within an organization. Taking off is the stage when a newcomer comes on board to lead a team or when a new product is introduced. Turbulence is the intermediate stage representing the rockiness that comes with transitions and change, like the first 90 days. Finally, the landing, the stage that is similar to when it is time to face whether there is any staying power or will another change be needed.
Last month, I boarded the 787 Dreamliner and was so excited that I bounded up the aisle to take a peak into the cockpit. The door was open and the pilots welcomed my entrance with enthusiasm. While donning one of the captains’ caps, they told me that the 787 Dreamliner is the best of the fleet. It not only flies higher than any other vessel, but it also flies faster than any other plane. Impressed, I asked where I could purchase a 787 Dreamliner baseball cap and they looked at each other and those three words no one likes to hear came out of their mouths – “We don’t’ know.” Then they said what an exemplary leader adds to those three words, they offered a suggestion to research Boeings’ website and if no cap were to be found, to make a suggestion on the site.
Settling into my seat, I familiarized myself with all the different ways my seat maneuvered, and found it to be better than any lazy boy. So engrossed with all the intricacies of the gadgets on my seat, I didn’t even notice the take off. What? I always know when we are taking off. How could I miss that? Is this airplane truly different than all the others? I pondered this and thought about how a leader can set themselves apart from any other leader to ensure smooth transitions and changes for their organization. My initial impression was enthusiasm as I was struck by the genuine enthusiasm of the pilots. Is enthusiasm the core of successful leadership?
Reflecting upon my experience of the 787 Dreamliner, I thought, a leader who has an open door policy and greets whoever walks in with an enthusiastic smile, reassuring whomever walks in of the uniqueness of the changes that are taking place, surely sets themselves apart while giving that person a sense of being valued. Perhaps the transitions and the inevitable turbulence of change could be smoother for the team by the leader having enthusiasm and genuine confidence like the pilots did for the organization and their team.
I thought about how the Dreamliner flew higher and faster, at 41,000 feet at 650 mph. An exemplary leader is one who is willing to exceed and breakthrough limitations and raise the bar of excellence for the entire organization.
Finally, flying on the 787 Dreamliner was an experience for the customer, each stage seamless. While taxing up to the gate in Zurich, I marveled at what a difference and how refreshing. I walked off the jet with a new appreciation for great leadership and how stages of transition can be seamless for the team and the customer, all beginning with enthusiasm, a dynamic escort to begin my travels.