Spencer Johnson and his book – ‘Peaks and Valleys’ has some very important messages for us that are worth reflecting on. The Washington Speakers Bureau summary of the book follows.
This book tells the story of a young man who lives in a valley until in search of answers to life’s dilemmas he scales a nearby peak where he encounters an old man who reveals a unique way of looking at and doing things that changed his work and his life forever. He learns how peaks and valleys are connected: the errors you make in good times create tomorrow’s bad times – and the wise things you do in today’s bad time create tomorrow’s good times.
I have just ordered the book and I look forward to reading the full text but the message is worth considering now. I have written on a number of occasions about ‘cause and effect’, logical flow and balance. As leaders, if we aspire to achieve ‘greatest’ for our organisation then we need to understand the peaks and valleys and the impact of those peaks and valleys. We need to be vocal advocates for change and to try and stamp out knee-jerk panic decisions and / or wrong doing that will land is in a valley down the track. This has never been more important that now because we certainly don’t want to plunge any further into the mire or to stay here any longer than is necessary.
This probably sounds like a bit of ‘new age’ babble but everything IS connected. We often don’t make the connections and then we go stumbling in the valley when we could be scaling higher and higher peaks. When you consider the state that the world is in at present and if you broke this down into the lowest common denominator it is very clear that errors that were made in some areas (be they on purpose or due to carelessness and panic) have had a disastrous impact. This relates to business decisions, humanitarian decisions, environmental decisions and the list goes on. Now of course, there appears to be more and more bad decisions being made or perhaps it is just the ‘sins of the past’ catching up with us at one time.
If we don’t want to be in the same place in the future then we need to take stock now. We need to find the leaders amongst us who understand the connections and we need to support them in spreading the message and driving the change. It is tough, because when you are sitting around the boardroom table no one wants a ‘spiel from the mount’ on cause and effect, or for you to challenge decisions that will clearly lead us into the valley (yet again) but the less visually aware can’t see it. It requires courage to take a different approach and to try and influence people and their thinking and when you to take a different approach in trying to get people to ‘wise-up’ and ‘wake-up’ the ‘messenger’ is often targeted as a ‘blocker’ or labelled a ‘crack-pot’.
You may not necessarily agree with what I say but please take the time to at least think about it. It is really simple – every action causes something to happen. The key is to take the right actions, to understand the connections and that often requires us to look outside of the limited area of our influence or control so that we stay on the peaks and not plummet into the valley – we may not come out next time.