Leadership with heart, mind, and soul

#002: Tear it Down to Build it Bigger

Added on by Sam Davidson.

My daughter and I were doing the hard work of Lego engineering last Friday night (yes, times are wild over here). She wanted to build a store she had already diagrammed on paper, complete with checkout lanes and cash registers.

There was a slight problem: we ran out of blocks.

Our only option was to dismantle the small hut we'd built a few weeks ago. We needed it for parts.

As I dismantled the structure, we then were left in an in-between place, where nothing was built and destruction was all around us. We now had no complete buildings, but just a heap of Legos at our ankles. But that was the price we had to pay, the premium charged on building something bigger and better than we thought possible.

Leaders face the same choices. We see where it is our companies or nonprofits can go, but sometimes, the only way to cross that threshold is to take apart something that seems to be working quite fine, to pick apart the status quo in view of some great big ambition. 

The work of a leader, then, is two fold:

  1. to paint a vision large enough that people are willing to sacrifice what's comfortable for the sake of what's meaningful, and
  2. to start dismantling with care and sensitivity so all the pieces stay in tact for what your team is building next.

The foundations of great big dreams are usually laid in the rubble of good small ones. 

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