BEACH BALL THEORY

Friday’s family members of the golden era – 1971 to 1986, are all, well familiar with this teaching treat. For those eagerly awaiting ‘the book’ (you are aren’t you?) you will enjoy this little tease of my metaphorical style of teaching. I created this simple metaphor early in my business career at Boise Cascade. It is a ‘fish hook’ to the brain image aimed at getting all points of view considered.

We begin with a red, white and blue beach ball so big that with three people standing on the three equal sides, each can only see one color. What color is the beach ball? To know that, you have to know which side of the ball the boss stands. ┬áIf it’s the red side, in most companies, the two employees would have to memorize that whatever their color it is not blue or white but, really red, if they want to keep their job!

The lesson is that good leaders always get the full picture. They seek out the differing points of view. They know the other colors or points of view and make a more informed decision. Life is more complex than a three color ball. It is a rainbow of colors and requires many more inputs than three. Wisdom is seeking them all.

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