I try to read (listen) one book per month. It’s been mainly self-development books. And to be honest I got a bit tired. However, recently I talked to a friend and a colleague who recommended me a fiction book with a unicorn in the title… I read the full title and immediately started to listen. I could not stop, I emerged completely. Today I would like to share three main lessons I learnt from The Unicorn Project book. Let’s go!
It was during the most difficult training. The task was simple; row the boat and compete with other teams. The challenge was to do it over and over again in cold weather. One team in one boat was consistently bad, coming as the last one. The instructor decided to implement risky manoeuvre – swap the leaders of the winning and losing boats. The result surprised everyone. However, the experienced instructor just said: “there are no bad teams, just bad leaders.“
We were in the middle of a planned network maintenance. It was not going well. The change window was just about to end. We were fighting with some unexpected issues causing service degradation. I needed to make a tough call. Either extend the maintenance window and carry on working on Sunday evening, or try to fix as much stuff as we could and regroup with the rest of my team on Monday. I called my boss, but he was abroad. Other folks from management was not picking up phones. I was on my own. I decided to instruct my engineer to roll back, stabilised the network and get some rest. We would pick up things tomorrow. I was trying to cool down after huge stress when my wife informed me, we would need to go to hospital as my newborn son was having severe allergy symptoms. Following 24 hours was a painful lesson of the subtle art of not giving a f**k to nonessential things in life.
It was 2010. I was sitting in a quiet coffee shop in the main square in Gdańsk. The main purpose of the visit was to attend a workshop about how to be an effective leader in local communities. I was sipping coffee and reviewing my notes. At the time, almost everything was a revelation to me, especially the part on being heroic leader:
- be a protagonist – a person who creates reality
- it is so easy to be an antagonist
- a person who is in the best scenario – a passive observer of life,
- in the worst-case scenario – actively disturbing actions of the protagonist
- be a leader – everyone can be a leader – even on a very small area of influence
- do not wait for golden opportunity that are given you on a silver plate – make sure you extract the gold from casual situations
- read more on “Heroic Leadership” by Chris Lowney.
I was just holding the recommended book and reading the first chapter. The book that changed my approach to many things. It also shaped my choices in my life, in both: professional and private domains.