As I write this, the sky has opened and a fierce rainstorm is drenching us. The brook behind my house is now a river and a pond has formed that previously did not exist. My wife, who must battle the rain on her commute to work, reminded me of Noah’s Ark and the challenges he faced. From his plight, we can learn many lessons:
- Anticipate the worst: Noah was lucky. He warned him that the rains were coming. We may not be so fortunate. Great leaders need to always be looking into the future, anticipate threats and opportunities, and put plans in place, positioning oneself for the future.
- Build an ark: Noah’s survival depended upon a strong reliable ark. No leader can perform without their ark – whether it’s systems, procedures, solid financing, great talent, cutting edge technology, or a reliable brick and mortar facility. You can’t do it by yourself.
- Only two: Noah took his family and two of each species, thus ensuring their continuity. Two lessons come from this: first, the importance of narrowing one’s focus to the real priorities and two, focusing your attention on your star talent. Everything cannot be a priority and by trying to make them so you dilute your attention and divert resources, time and focus away from the important things. Same with staff. By adopting an egalitarian approach that takes care of everyone the same, at the expense of those individuals who truly drive your business, then you run the risk of losing your key staff. Clear focus and direction, backed up by strong, reliable talent, guarantees success every time.
- Continuity is key: When Noah took both his family and two of each species, he ensured their continuity. While the others perished in the flood, Noah and the chosen animals survived on the ark and were then able to repopulate the world after the storm. Organizations must also “repopulate” by putting in place succession plans. Succession plans ensure continuity and an orderly transition of leadership. Without a plan, organizations face disruption, loss of institutional knowledge, and often failure.
- Ride out the storm: Noah rode out the storm, while preparing for the future. When the rain stopped, he was ready to go. We just survived a great recession. Those that prepared for the future, have one. Those who did not anticipate the storm or who took a mere survival approach without positioning themselves for the recovery, suddenly find themselves behind the competition.
Noah took the warning and prepared for the storm. We can learn from Noah. Begin building your ark today.