Whom Do You Serve?

Lance Creativity, Leadership, People Leave a Comment

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A riddle for a Friday, adapted from one discussed by author Shane Snow in his book Smart Cuts:

Ferrari-488-GTB-Inside-LaneYou’re the CEO of your company, and you are out for a drive, breaking in this new beauty down a strip of blacktop winding its way through a picturesque forest. The air is heavy with mist, with a light rain struggling to commence. As you navigate the serpentine turns and accelerate over the open straights, you see up ahead three figures standing along the side of the road.

As you slow down to see if you can assist, you realize you know all three people. There, alongside this remote wooded road, stand three people who need a lift. They are:

  • your Customer
  • your Employee
  • your Investor

Your 2-seat Ferrari means you can not pick up all three, and the temporary tags on your Italian supercar make clear how very recently you just bought this childhood dream. As you pull past the three people and come to a stop, the drizzle starts in earnest and you have a decision to make:

What do you do?

Once you’ve answered that question, ask yourself these two much more important questions:

  1. What does that say about my priorities?
  2. Do my actions as a Leader match up with that professed set of priorities?

Answer those questions with ruthless honesty, and adjust accordingly so your priorities are in line with your values, and your actions are in line with them both.

*The first five people to connect with me on Twitter (@lancesalyers) with the correct answer will win a copy of Smart Cuts on me.

(To hear Shane Snow himself describe his original riddle and the point it is meant to illustrate, check out his interview with Ryan Hawk on The Learning Leader Show.)