Here at Hunter Moore we like a good water based analogy – well one of our directors does, so we all smile and nod. Having said that one thing we all agree on is that surfing is a cool looking sport. Sure it was born in Hawaii and popularised in California where being in the water in just shorts is OK and the water is blue and clear but even so it is very cool. You get to go at great speed with apparently no effort, impressing the crowd with both your skill and fearless ability.
In business it feels the same. Some people just seem to be able surf through – going effortlessly through meetings, impressing everyone and looking cool. Now if you are one of those people then stop reading now – I am going to give away some secrets.
The image of surfing though is not the reality. In the real world surfing takes lots and lots of practice. In the real world to get to be in the right place to ride the wave takes lot of effort – often paddling against the tide and in the real world surfing often only lasts a few glorious minutes and end with a crash (mostly controlled but not always).
In order for the surfers to impress the crowd they need the right wave. It needs to be big enough for them to ride with confidence but not too big, it needs to move fast but not too fast and it needs to be close to breaking point but not too close.
All of the above can be applied to the front person in a team. It looks like they get all the glory without doing any of the work – the wave appears to do the work but rarely gets the credit (even from the surfer) but when wave and rider are in perfect harmony there is nothing better.
If you are that front person make sure you practice, find the right wave and try not to crash too hard at the end of the ride. If you are part of the team that creates the wave, make it a great wave to ride, put in the energy and support to make it fast and big and try not to crash all over your front man.