THE FOLLOWING IS A TRANSCRIPT OF MELTON’S VIDEO “Hooking Your Nose & Challenging Your Assumptions”:
Hey leaders, it’s Tom Melton with Melton leadership. You know every day I get to work with leaders, some of the best business and ministry leaders in Denver, and what I get to do is help them and their teams connect clarify and grow because everybody wants to get better. Along the way I want to share a few ideas of on how we can get better in other words what is a path to better. So I’m gonna share a few likes did ideas today and hopefully they’ll help you on that path.
A few years ago I was invited to go to Patagonia in South America to learn how to fly fish, a friend of mine did it as a gift to me and thought I’d really enjoy it and sounded good we went down there and we’re out learning how to cast and if you’ve never fly finished which I hadn’t I was amazed how hard it was. It was really difficult skill to learn and so on and then frustrating and so on. But now we’re out on the water on a river and even though it’s summer down there it was cold, and it’s raining and it’s windy and I pretty much hate it. In fact I’m kind of thinking I’m mad at my friend for even inviting me.
So here we are and I’m casting and not doing very well and I finally said I’m really gonna go for it so I go for it, but the wind caught my hook and the line came around the back of me and hooked me in the nose. So now I’m sitting there in the middle of the river in Patagonia and I have a hook in my nose and I look over at the guide and I don’t know if he was, you know frightened or if he was amused, but whatever it was, he said well, let me take a look at that and immediately begins to pull it out and because one of the assumptions was that in that hook he didn’t have a barb. Well normally it wouldn’t have a barb because they crimp it, the part that keeps it from pulling out so that they can do catch and release. This particular hook was not crimped so as he pulled and he realized uh oh we got a problem there.
So he started to evaluate. I’m just saying get the thing out of my nose, but I don’t want to get to rip my nose off and in the middle of that I was just ticked and I hated fishing, I hated fish, hated people who even like fish. And so he went in he pushed it back in through after he pulled on it and then he crimped it and then he pulled it back out.
So when I thought about what had happened there with the hook in my nose and what the guide had done it made me realize that we do this a lot in our leadership in our companies or families or organizations and in the same way. What do we learn from that?
Well the first thing we learn is that to not react and of course that’s what he did he for whatever reason he just yanked on it and then he demonstrated a positive quality there. Rather than just saying I’m pulling this thing out he realized that that was not going to work. So then he responded and so he moved from being a reactive leader to a responsive leader and so what did he do? He pushed it back in and he asked the five why’s. He asks why and basically five times at least he said well why is that not coming out? Oh I see it’s got a barb on it. Oh why is that barb on it? Well because we forgot to crimp it. Why did we forget to crimp it? Because we were in a hurry. Why we were in a hurry and so on.
So in doing that he was able ultimately to fix the problem to make it better without doing maximum damage or doing minimum damage and by examining the premises that he was operating on. Same thing with us in our organizations and our companies I wonder what that barb is that you’re just yanking on. It might be an employee, it might be a business practice, it might be something you say I’m just going to yank that out of there and then yanking it out of there you actually do more damage instead of slowing down and being a responsive leader and asking why five times.
Why is that employee so unhappy? Why is this going on and ask that question why.
I really believe in, in my own experience that one of the most valuable things you can do is to beware of the quick fix but implement the five why’s.
If you do that I believe that you will be on the path to better. If you’d like to find out more about what I do and with leaders you can contact me on my website Meltonleadership.org