Dirty Hands, and Keeping The Clay In The Middle

“Every pot that is crafted requires hands to be spoilt.”

–  Unattributed

I saw a speaker Sunday who used a potter’s wheel analogy to make her point about authenticity.  It got me thinkin’ — which, I’m pretty sure is the whole point of going to see this kind of speaker on a Sunday morning…but I digress.

If we’re going to shape something meaningful, we’re going to need to get our hands dirty.  Even as leaders.  Especially as leaders!  Here’s the deal, though, it’ll take more than rolled-up-sleeves and dirty hands.  It’s also really important to keep the clay in the middle of the potter’s wheel — analogous to keeping our focus and priorities clearly built on the things that move us forward.

It’s one thing to get our hands dirty just staying busy.  It’s another thing to get our hands dirty doing some of the dirty work for someone in the team — at least that’s meaningful dirt under our nails.

But’s it’s a whole nuther thing for sure to get our hands dirty doing the things that we know are important but that don’t seem urgent right now.  Recruiting.  Correcting behavior of a team member.  Planning.  Doing a loss review.  Adding a “why” column to our to-do list, and only to-doing the things that make the most difference when we get them to-done.

Keeping the clay in the middle of the wheel, the pace of the pedals consistent and getting our hands dirty building that thing that occupies the center — the thing that is our “Why.”


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