The Relevance of Footprints Left Behind

My family enjoys vacationing at the beach. Our favorite part of being there is walking along the shore, looking for the perfect seashell along the shallow incoming tide. My youngest daughter, Miller, loves to try and walk in my footprints. She laughs as she tries to match my stride and get her small feet into the large marks I leave behind.

If you are a beach goer, you know that footprints you leave along the shore quickly wash away when the next wave arrives. As you move further away from the tide, your footprints remain in the sand for a longer period of time. When it comes to coaching, leadership and management in the workplace, it’s helpful to think of your messages to others the same way.

Those immediate “nuggets” we provide to our employees which are in close proximity to the behavior being exhibited serve to either reinforce what was observed or correct some aspect of it in order to improve performance. We should be mindful of not only the message we deliver, but how we deliver it so it is properly received. As we move further away from the “incoming wave” or “seashell” (observed behaviors) and begin to focus on more long-term, strategic developmental feedback for our employees, we can then leave a longer lasting footprint (professional guidance). We want to be more careful with this messaging so it will stick with that person as they strive to reach their goals and objectives.

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.”
-Elon Musk


Understanding Your Purpose and Path

I went to see Black Panther with my family during its opening weekend. Within the storyline lies a strong message about being your own leader and doing what you think is right. The main character – T’Challa (aka Black Panther) – finds out after taking over the throne of his homeland (Wakanda) that his deceased father, King T’Chaka, betrayed his brother years before. While King T’Chaka was doing what he felt was right for the well being of his country, T’Challa disagreed with the approach. He confronts this reality by trying to “right” what he felt was “a wrong.”

We all have internal dilemmas to sort through as we look to help pave a path for our children, employees and others with whom we have influence over. It is important to take our life lessons we’ve been taught and embed them into our “DNA.” We must also follow our gut and stick to what we believe reflects our character, beliefs and passions.

 “Those who know me know I’m passionate about lists, and top of my list of priorities is my family. My wife Joan and I do not consider our legacy to our children to be wealth or fame but the opportunity to pursue happiness by following their own path.”
-Richard Branson

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