Nov 9 – Leading like Spongebob

Sunrise/sunset: 6:27/4:30

Foo Song: What if I Do? (“Carolina, Caroline”)

Management theme of the day: Leadership, leading from the middle, and following a thread of opportunism.

Sunrise pics:

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Today, I biked in with Yven Echeverria. It’s been great to have him up from Mexico. I’m inspired by guys like him, who gave up smoking and totally changed his life for the better. Now he literally runs up high altitude volcanoes before breakfast. And the guy somehow led us at EcoLogic through complex project coaching while experiencing the birth of his first child, Ambar.

I love facilitation, but today’s work felt like a pretty monstrous task, where I did so much up front to prepare the day, but I love to facilitate experiences and events and to organize people, so it felt right. I’m never quite sure how to balance between pushy and laid back, but when meetings and groups lack energy, I get fired up. I was thrilled to see everyone jump up and take turns to facilitate. Tough position when leading from the middle. But I’m really, genuinely proud of myself. And none of this would have been possible without my early identification of resources and key people online.

Annette Stewart, an all-star conservation coach and manager from Australia, has helped revolutionize how conservation organizations use business processes to do better work. I aw her presentation online, cold called her, and started a relationship that ended up bringing her to Cambridge to inspire our Board and staff and help us make this really come together. And Yven came to us originally through an online network that I set up after jumping at the opportunity to attend a Capacity Building for Conservation conference in Colombia in 2013. The network, using Yammer, pretty much fizzled out, but Yven found us through it and via other former colleagues at the Nature Conservancy who were paying attention to the Yammer group, then discovered that we had a job opening. Again, one thing led to another, but it was far from luck or serendipity. This all came together thanks to openness and opportunism and instincts.

It’s these instincts that I think this are a particular strength of mine. I get excited about a lot of things, tend to see the glass 3/4 full all the time, but I’m not just jumping up and down at every opportunity. I still know how to filter, but I don’t necessarily operate systematically. It’s like I get in a special mental mode of connectivity that puts me in the flow.

With my optimism, I liken myself a bit to Spongebob. But I’m not quite as oblivious most of the time. In fact, I love messing with the Squidwards of the world and tend to get along well with the Patricks!!  I can also sing the entire Spongebog theme song from memory – “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea … Flop like a fish …”

Today I was in a Spongebobby flow all day long, and even ended on a fishy note at the Summer Shack, where I chowed down on a plate of jerk spiced bluefish. A spicy way to end a good day of working hard.

And capped it off by a night bike ride home to JP with Yven, my kind of guy …

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