LEADER’S FIELD GUIDE
The movie, A Dog’s Purpose is based on the bestselling novel of the same name, by W. Bruce Cameron. Ninety-four percent of the Google Users rating this movie liked it, and it’s family friendly. Of course, so is Disney’s animated film Bambi. But, if you were born in the early 1970’s and, perhaps watched this movie at a drive-in theatre as a 5-year-old peering over your parents’ shoulders from the back seat, then you know there should have been a warning about what happens to Bambi’s mom in the first five minutes!!
…No, no need for such a warning for A Dog’s Purpose, which Universal Pictures describes as a story of a dog who “finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love.” The movie ends with a final quote:
“So, in all my lives as a dog, here’s what I’ve learned. Have fun, obviously. Whenever possible, find someone to save, and save them. Lick the ones you love. Don’t get all sad-faced about what happened and scrunchy-faced about what could. Just be…here…now.” –Bailey
Maybe you read the quote while bobbing your head saying, “Yep, yep, yuck, yep, yep, yep…” I did to, until I thought about really saving someone. This one is tricky… As leaders, we are all equipped with “That’s a Problem Radar”! But that doesn’t automatically give us permission or an assignment to fix every problem or save every person. When we save someone in the business context, we must consider a few things:
- Magnitude? How big is the problem, is it a fundamental issue with executive presence or a simple neglect of coffee pot etiquette? The size and impact of the concern may determine who should be stepping in to recommend changes, it may not be you.
- Possible? The person you are trying to save must be willing to take feedback and courageously change behavior –over a long period of time. The level of commitment an individual has to improvement determines the effectiveness of the change.
- Correct? Consider timing, your own biases, and underlying causes of behavior or beliefs. Just because you are smart, and we both know you are, doesn’t mean you know exactly how to fix or save someone.
Most importantly, no one wants to be fixed, those who can be saved may not even know they’ve been saved until they are saving someone else. Even credentialed coaches, formally trained to evaluate coachability, may find an individual who is ultimately dedicated to their current reality. According to ReachOut, leaders who are exposed to those who don’t want help may continue to be available and supportive, offer suggestions when asked, become informed, talk to someone themselves, set boundaries, and avoid forcing the issue.
By the way, I’ve never watched Bambi as an adult and if I did, I can assure you, I would skip the first five minutes. I know, I know, as a leader in the business world, I shouldn’t be “all sad-faced about what happened and scrunchy-faced about what could.” I am just…here…now…
Note: For very serious concerns, reach out to a professional or call a help line.
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Bible says about Saving Others. —
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She founded Synergy Groups, virtual masterminds connecting Christians in leadership around the globe for the purpose of Community, Accountability, and Transformation. She also partners with high-performers and heirs-apparent especially in the STEM industries. Michelle’s formal background in technology, franchise, and project management gives her an edge on implementing best practices and scaling towards sustainable success. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.
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