LEADER’S FIELD GUIDE
In 1900, by accident, the snow globe was invented. Erwin Perzy had observed shoemakers holding glass globes in front of candles to magnify the ambient light. Using the same concept, he tried to fill the vacuum of Albert Edison’s lightbulb with water. As you may have guessed, electricity stopped flowing through the patented carbonized cotton thread filament. For some reason, Perzy then added semolina to the water. Once this grain (used for baby food) became saturated, it floated to the bottom creating the illusion of snowfall.
Erwin Perzy II “introduced a new material for the artificial snow, which remains a company secret” to this day. In fact, many modern-day manufactures use their own proprietary recipes for artificial snow. To prevent freezing (and breakage), most snow globes combine a bit of anti-freeze and anti-bacterial with purified water. Yet, shipments can still be delayed to extremely cold regions.
Snow globes are fragile, myopic, and stormy– just like some leaders:
- Fragile: A fragile leader is coddled by upper management, peers, and direct reports. Unfortunately, the fragile leader is unaware of the accommodations being made. They are often the last to get bad news, constructive feedback, and challenging opportunities. Fragile leaders are usually out of the loop.
- Myopic: Some leaders have very limited vision. Even though the landscape is changing, they see the same scene over and over. They ask the same questions and repeat advice. It’s like they’ve learned one or two lessons and appear resistant to updating knowledge or expanding curiosity. Myopic leaders don’t grow with the organization.
- Stormy: Some leaders seem to thrive in adverse conditions of their own making. These leaders agitate colleagues by whipping up unnecessary chaos. They seem fueled by adrenaline and then seek accolades for averting yet another catastrophe. Stormy leaders create a frenzied atmosphere.
For the first forty years, Perzy’s snow globes displayed a single scene– that of a church. These days, no diorama is off limits. Just like leaders, snow globes come in many sizes and represent many situations. We are reminded that fragile leaders are out of the loop, myopic leaders stop learning, and stormy leaders create a chaos. Resilience, growth, and stability are key perspectives.
— Join a Synergy Group where we will discuss what the
Bible says about Snow. —
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She hosts global masterminds, called Synergy Groups, for REALLY BUSY Christians leading with powerful confidence and humble hearts. She works with high-performing leaders focused on organizational effectiveness by refining strategy, inspiring teams, and delighting clients. Michelle specializes in the areas of information technology, project management, franchise management, and business as mission. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.
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