Two options for your future in leadership and how to decide.


Here’s what we’ll be looking at;

  1. With every decision.
  2. Turning water to ice.
  3. What leaders know.
  4. See no evil, hear no evil; just keep talking.
  5. What got you here…
  6. …won’t take you there.
  7. What the need is.

With every decision.

With every decision comes two options; “run and hide”, or “over and beyond”. In between both are several illusions of direction but in the end – a leader is deciding along one of both lines. Moving up the ladder of influence in any organisation can be challenging and as such, the tendency is to guard a position, reputation or office such that hard earned influence is not lost. This is referred to as the “run and hide” strategy and the overriding objective is to avoid loss.

Turning water to ice.

This strategy ensures stability but gradually builds an unwillingness to take actions perceived as risky reducing the chances for innovative leadership. For the leader it contributes to a steady decline in peer group relevance strategic for advancement to higher levels of influence. Leaders with high standards, if in the same organisation tend to conclude that such peers can’t be trusted with significant levels of responsibility.

Still, there is a sense of awe a leader radiates when able to retain the respect gained through past victories – the downside being referred to mostly in the context of past accomplishments from dated campaign; a record book.

What leaders know.

Leaders at the highest levels know that true innovation requires a willingness to take risks, moving ahead, improving in their capacity to lead teams and organisations. These leaders are known as “over and beyond” as they push for the new, taking necessary action to build a world worth living in.

Both leadership types believe in company goals, efficiency and the like – their difference is in mode of achievement. The run and hide leaders seem to have achieved seniority playing by the rules, taking no such leaps into the unknown, and rarely (if ever) questioning the system. Battle scars early in their careers seem to have been marked: “NO MORE RISK”.

See no evil, hear no evil; just keep talking.

In practice, such leaders remain attentive and sometimes supportive in conversations on new ideas but side with safety when it comes to taking concrete steps. Once there’s a possibility of loss, a whiff of smoke, the run and hide gene kicks in and the bunker is sealed shut. Nothing comes in, nothing goes out and status quo holds sway.

These leaders are important for freshmen wide eyed with dreams of corporate leadership and unaware of the numerous pitfalls. They teach wilderness survival tactics from how to dance with wolves without being eaten to surviving Armageddon. The down side is that a perfect defense doesn’t discover new territory and is destined to fade once current markets are exhausted after which is extinction.

Again, run and hide leaders are easier to replace when compared with the over and beyonds. No wars for introducing innovation have been won. No over and beyond victories, except a successfully defended career castle. Still the fall of the Roman empire is instructive – a position can only be defended for so long.

What got you here…

That element of fear of loss inherent in every run and hide stalwart stands as their greatest strength and undoing. As new ideas are not easily accepted, risks key to growth are not taken. Leaders stick to this system for safety reasons and as such it remains popular till date. Only the living can write history. The run and hides are key for the short term, necessary for the mid-term but mildly relevant in the long term.

The result of mastering the run and hide system is an opportunity to join the over and beyonds. These leaders, whether as a result of lessons learned, personal observation or natural inclination, have come to the conclusion that there is no future for the run and hide strategy.

…won’t take you there.

Over and beyond leaders are open to new ideas, willing to take risks, independent in their thinking and are preferred to the run and hide group. These are the ones remembered because they went beyond the normal in fighting for their beliefs – irrespective of mistakes along the way. Being over and beyond means that there is a focus on results either in business numbers or in developing teams.

Stories worth passing on are mostly about over and beyonds – who they were, what they did, how they fought, and how they lived. Ultimately, run and hides come to depend on over and beyond leaders irrespective of their positions in the organisational chart.

What the need is.

The run and hides keep things is safely in the present while the over and beyonds make it clear that the present cannot hold for too long. Both have important aspects, but one group creates the future and would likely be important for much longer.

The world and indeed business need over and beyond leaders because they take the risks necessary to create a future worth living in. Progress often depends on them and it could be said that the world would still be using horse drawn carriages as standard transportation if not for their efforts.

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