What can a Dove teach you about Leadership?

The late Teddy Kollek was Mayor of Jerusalem from 1965 to 1993 and for a while had a photograph on his office desk of a man with a Dove on his head, seemingly standing in mid air over the city. In times of difficulty, of which there are no shortage in the iconic city of Jerusalem, Mayor Kollek would draw inspiration from the 1987 photograph, saying to himself “If Philippe can do it, so can I”.

Philippe Petit, the man with the Dove, is also the subject of “Man on Wire”, the film documentary of his tightrope walk between the

Philippe Petit at the 81st Academy Awards

Philippe Petit at the 81st Academy Awards        (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York on 7th August 1974. In the course of his unique life Philippe has found that six characteristics have been fundamental to his development and success.

It’s unlikely that any business or organisational leader will share any of his performance skills or jaw-dropping achievements but these six traits or qualities are relevant to business life and worthy of our attention.

1. Passion

We cannot launch a start-up or grow a business without passion. That’s if we wish to attract (& retain) good people, achieve long term success and gain personal fulfilment.

2. Tenacity

No business follows a linear success path. Even established ones stumble from time to time. There are periods when we need to “dig in” and work through the constraint or problem.

3. Intuition

It is said that entrepreneurs are born not made, that they operate by instinct and often seem to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of a set of circumstances. Having the courage to step out onto a certain path when your head says “No” brings us to

4. Faith

We place our faith in our own abilities and our colleagues as we delegate to them. We trust the integrity of our product or service and that our customers will prove to be loyal when a competitor knocks on their door.

5. Improvisation

The 1995 film, Apollo 13, starring Tom Hanks, portrays a frantic scene where the NASA engineers are required to develop an improvised solution to rescue the 1970 mission, crippled after an oxygen tank exploded. Fortunately for all concerned they succeed. In today’s start-up environment we may need to pivot on multiple occasions as we navigate towards a successful product/market fit.

6. Inspiration

Goes hand in hand with Passion and is one reason why loyalty to a leader, a cause or a company can almost seem devotional. Have you ever had a conversation with an Apple Mac user!

As I reflect on my personal style I recognise that often these six attributes are not as evident as I would wish them to be. I urge you to watch Philippe explain them to you in his recent TED Talk in San Francisco. Not only will you hear about that Dove but you will enjoy an awesome TED Talk, a real presentation skills master-class!

You may also be challenged and motivated to display more passion, tenacity, intuition, faith, improvisation and inspiration in your daily working and personal lives, as have I.

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About This Week in Business

I'm CEO @YesGrowth a leading AltFin company which provides syndicated, short term working capital to UK businesses in any sector. Connect with me on LinkedIn or Google+ and follow me on Twitter.
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