Last month I was honored to be invited as a guest to the Integrity Marketing Solutions Annual Summit at the stunning new Legacy Ranch headquarters. Jennifer has shared her vision of Legacy Ranch with me since the first day I met her. It is now a reality.
And it is a reality because she not only had the vision, she created a path for how she was going to get there, shared it with Kyle and the team, enrolled them and got buy-in. Then they started taking one small step at a time toward that goal. And they never stopped moving forward, in spite of roadblock after roadblock, rules changing, obstacles and failed strategy.
Jennifer, as the visionary, kept moving forward. She kept course correcting, redefining and often blazing new trails. When there were problems, the team proposed solutions.
I was invited to attend the opening segment on equine coaching and leadership. It was heartwarming to be greeted by warm hugs from many of my attorney friends and the IMS team.
In typical retreat fashion, we got right to work.
Dana led us in a safety demonstration on the ins and outs of how to communicate with the horses, how to get them to move and follow you and, of course, what NOT to do.
Our first exercise was around “first impressions.” Naturally, the horses were our teachers. We spent several minutes observing their essence, how they showed up in the pen, their behaviors, how they treated each other and how they carried themselves. We then had a fascinating debrief of our impressions of each of the three horses, Cooper, Rocky and Cash.
We couldn’t have been more off on our assessments. Cooper was very ill that day, and we labeled him indifferent and a pushover. He is actually a natural leader, a champion and a rock star. Rocky I saw as a leader, yet he is a loyal follower. The debrief conversation left each of us with a business-altering mind shift about the judgment and limiting stories that give us “permission” to shut down and go away when we are out networking, meeting with clients, interviewing, hiring and ultimately charging what we are worth.
My viewpoint on “the first impression” has been forever altered. It got me thinking of an 1823 study quoted in the book “Get More Clients Now.” The study showed that people don’t consider buying from you until they’ve had 12 interactions with you ? 12! And they don’t buy until the 20th interaction. So keep showing up.
The second exercise was on leadership. We split into two groups; I was in the second. The first had a set of rules and 10 minutes to lead the horse into a box in the back of the round ring. To be honest, I wasn’t paying attention to their rules or strategies, I was reconnecting with an attorney I deeply admire but haven’t seen in years; we were both in group two. All I know is that they hit goal, under deadline, because I heard their victorious roars of “We did it!”
We were up next. Our only rules were that we couldn’t touch the horse and couldn’t talk to our teammates.
We did meet goal, with 20 seconds to spare.
Here is what we discovered about ourselves as business owners and leaders in this exercise:
- Rules: When we were given rules on what not to do, we focused so heavily on that from a place of “doing it wrong” that we couldn’t shift to a creative place of thinking outside the box and figuring out what we could Dana gave us the “how to get a horse to do what you want them to do” demonstration at the very beginning. Not one of us anchored back to that because we were all focused on “the rules.”
- Leadership: There wasn’t a designated leader at the onset. So none of us took the lead, we were afraid of stepping on someone else’s toes and of leading the team in the wrong direction ? or worse, into danger. It was a powerful animal we were dealing with, after all. (But isn’t our business, as well?!)
- Strategy: We didn’t have a laid-out strategy. Because there wasn’t a clear, concise strategy, we were frozen. We didn’t know exactly what to do, so we did nothing. We all got in FRONT of the horse and boxed him in, even though Dana had told us to get behind a horse, NOT in front of it, to get it to move.
- Failed strategy: When getting in front of the horse was a “failure,” we backed away from the horse and stood in the box (goal), all but saying, “We don’t know how to lead you to goal, but we are standing staring at goal, paralyzed and frozen.” Our initial strategy failed, so we were going to stand steadfast next to our goal, defeated and drained, waiting for the clock to hit zero, ready to chalk it up to “We failed, we didn’t know what to do, Jennifer. What was the secret to get to goal?”
The secret to getting to goal is action any action, preferably consistent action and recourse. What ultimately got the horse to goal at the final countdown was that we all came together, we all got behind the horse (without a strategy meeting and without communication), then one person walked up behind him, signaled for the rest to “try it on, we have nothing to lose” and the rest followed. And like magic, Cash started triumphantly gliding to the box (goal) like an award-winning movie.
When there are rules, no designated leader, no declared and failed strategy, there is always a way to goal if you continue to stay in action.
Where are you stopping your business from moving forward?
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