In my first book, I wrote about the cycle of growth and the four stages you go through. I used the analogy of a journey to explain the stages we go though as we grow and gave some tools to navigate them well.
Stage 1: Disharmony
Stage 2: Awareness and Hope
Stage 3: The Valley of Insight.
Stage 4: Victory and Mastery
I have covered stage 1 and 2 in my last blogs, you can click on the links above to read them.
The valley of insight is a term I heard from an old school training video from many years ago. It was about a company called Ideo who invented new things. They were one of the first companies to work without the hierarchy leadership model. They would pull a team into the room and whoever had the most experience needed for the particular object they were inventing would become the team leader and it was their job to keep the project moving forward and to make sure everyone had want they needed to complete their tasks.
To begin every project the team leader would remind the team of the process of innovation. He would draw a line that started high and then dipped low and then gradually went back up again and ended off higher than before.
They would start off with great hope and excitement and then they would dip into the valley of insight as they tried and failed with new ideas. Just like with a valley, there is the downhill tumble and little plateau and then a climb out to the other side, where they would have confidence in their new product. Understanding this from the outset prevents people for becoming discouraged when times get tough. It is the way of growth too.
It seems really apt that I am writing this blog about the Valley of Insight on Day one of our Self-Isolation here in New Zealand. I don’t know about you but I woke up this morning feeling calm and with a resolve to make the most of this time.
For me personally, I have moved from Disharmony (where I was getting cancellation after cancellation and everything seemed so uncertain and I was hit with all sorts of concerns and worries about my business, my family and friends and what this all means) to Awareness and Hope (I checked in with myself and others and stared down the scary facts, I figured out what I can control and what I can’t and I penciled in a plan for what I can control. I figured out what the priorities are and got some perspective and some hope of where I would like to see myself at the end of this.)
Now it is time to navigate our way through the valley. I realised many years ago that our THERE (where we would like to be) is often far removed from our HERE and the way to THERE is rarely in a straight line. The valley of Insight is made up of three phases or territories. The Wilderness, the Giants and the Forest. It is vital that we understand each of these phases as we figure out our new normal. The reality is many of our businesses will never be the same, and depending how we navigate through this all, that might not be a bad thing.
To keep the blogs short, I will unpack them another day, but if you are a leader, the first thing you have to do is process what you would like that THERE to be. Work with what you have right now, then climb that tree of hope and look further into the future. What could your business look like? What’s the most important thing? What is the most important thing your team needs from you right now? As Patrick Lencioni said in a webinar, leaders need to be exceedingly human right now. This is an opportunity to build trust and to serve your team in the worst of times. Because this too will end and there will be lots of opportunities for new and great things if we have the vision for it. It starts with hope.