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The Power of
The Foundation for Leading
with Confidence

» Guiding Questions for Leadership Teams – How we might be

tested on the journey
» Templates for mapping the likely tests

QuickStart is designed to provide structure for fast application of the key

elements of heroic leadership. It is action focused. See Also:

» “I’m Just Curious” – an overview of the book

» The other QuickStart packets
» The Chapter Summaries & excerpts
» The download section for complete chapters

Illustrations by Jim Borgman

© 2008. Gordon Barnhart. All Rights Reserved.
The Power of Knowledge
The Foundation for Leading with Confidence

3 Why This QuickStart Topic?

» The Guiding Questions for Leadership Teams

3 1 » How are We Beginning the Journey?

4 2 » The First Test – The Guardians of the Threshold

5 3 » Three Tests on the Path

5 Tests in Completing the Heroic Journey

» Templates for Mapping the Likely Tests

7 How We Are Beginning The Journey
The Power of Knowledge
Why this QuickStart Topic?

Knowing what to expect on a journey of change is critical for two reasons in


“Knowledge of the jour- 1 » Know what to do. Knowledge of the journey is the foundation on which
ney is the foundation the leadership roles and strategies rest. It helps make sense of why each
strategy is important and how the strategies support each other, which in-
on which the leadership creases confidence and sureness of execution. Knowledge of the journey
rolees and strategies also makes it much easier to respond to surprises and new factors that
rest” are inevitable as the journey unfolds.

2 » Know what to expect. Knowledge of the heroic journey also helps us

anticipate what we might encounter on the journey and prepare well - it
helps make sense out of a whole set of experiences, many of which might
be confusing. That is essential to “manage self to lead others” and it
helps us prepare and guide others who depend on us. It also builds our
credibility with them as they see our leadership strategies matching the

The Guiding Questions for

Leadership Teams

The following sets of guiding questions are designed to lead a team through
the discussions that create a solid understanding of the journey that they are
about to lead. They address:

1 » How the journey is beginning for different stakeholders

2 » How the Guardians of the Threshold might turn the group back right at
the beginning
3 » The three types of tests on the path – endings and letting go, challenges
of discovery and mastery, and dealing with the land in between the
endings and the mastery
4 » The final tests at the end of the journey that can unravel progress just as
success is within sight – the ripple effect, alignment and attunement

1 » How are We Beginning the Journey?

How a journey begins matters – a lot. There are four ways to begin a heroic
“How a journey begins journey: heed a call to go forth, get thrown into the journey (common cor-
matters – a lot. There porate experience), be lured into a journey (change didn’t look so big at the
are four ways to begin beginning) and blundering in (making a mistake, failing at something, break-
a heroic journey” ing a law).

The best way to begin a journey is to heed a call. If you begin in one of the
other three ways the best thing to do is find a call after being thrown, lured or
blundering in. The key is to get into the posture of the author of the experi- 
ence as much as possible and as soon as possible. That’s easier said than
done, but a critical challenge. Leaders often have to throw people into a
heroic journey. There is just no way around it sometimes. In these cases, the
test for leaders is to challenge and support those they have thrown into the
journey in getting out of any victim posture and into the role of author. How
much of the experience people can author will vary widely, but the author
posture and the ability to self-manage is key.

“How much of the

experience people can ? Who is beginning the journey with a sense of heeding a call to go
forth to do something of worth?
author will vary widely,
but the author posture
and the ability to self- ? Which groups or individuals feel like they have been thrown into the
journey by us?
manage is key”
? Who might have the sense of having been lured into the journey?

? Which groups or individuals feel they are beginning the journey

because they failed or blundered?

How might we help people who are blundering into or feeling thrown

? into the journey get to where they feel more like they are heeding a
call to go forth and accepting the challenge?

2 » The First Test – The Guardians of the


“The first tests are The heroic journey is sometimes called “the trail of tests” and the tests can
come in many forms. The first tests are getting past what are called the
getting past what are
Guardians of the Threshold. These are the internal and external forces that
called the Guardians try to stop us before we even get out of the door. Internal guardians can be
of the Threshold. These doubts and fears or simply being tired and worn out. External guardians can
are the internal and be such things as a lack of resources, undermining colleagues or executives
external forces that try or too few committed leaders and followers
to stop us before we
even get out of the door”
? What are the individual guardians that we must deal with
(doubts, fears, poor change histories, lack of trust, etc.)?

What are the guardians for the organization (elements of the

organization’s culture that discourage going forth and risk-taking,
? leadership ambivalence, poor change history, fatigue, too many other
things going on, etc.)? Guardians can also be a lack of resources, key
relationships that might be shaky, etc.

? What might we do to help people deal with their own internal


? What might we do to deal with our organization’s guardians

that can undermine the journey? 
? How well prepared are people for the journey and what do we need
to do to close any gaps in preparation?

? Do we have the degree of initial buy-in that we need (critical mass,
not everyone) and what do we need to do if the answer is “no”?

3 » Three Tests on the Path

“These tests will oc- The tests we encounter once past the guardians of the threshold fall into
three general categories although there is a great variety in each. One set
cur on three levels: of challenges deals with endings – letting go of old ways of doing things, re-
idividual, group and lationships, places of work, structures, processes, identity, etc. The second
organization-wide. On set of tests relate to beginnings – discovering and mastering the new. These
each level there will be are often the most deceptively difficult tests. The third set of tests relates
the need for letting go, to the ability to deal with the land in between endings and beginnings. This
is a land of uncertainty, pushes and pulls, and frequently of natural dips in
discovery and mastery performance.
and dealing with the
in-between land” These tests will occur on three levels: individual, group and organization-
wide. On each level there will be the need for letting go, discovery and
mastery and dealing with the in-between land.

Endings. What might people or the organization need to let go of


on this journey? What endings are likely and how hard might they be?
How widespread will the endings be (limited or organization-wide)?

? Beginnings. What new discoveries will be required and what must

people learn and master in order to be successful? What might be
toughest to master? What might the organization become good at?

? In-between. What might the in-between land look like – anxieties,

uncertainties, dips in performance for a time? How about the pushes
and pulls - for instance a sense of place and belonging vs. being
displaced, confidence vs. doubts, order vs. disorder or feeling con-
nected vs. disconnected?

Tests in Completing the Heroic Journey

The tests in completing a journey focus particularly on managing the ripple
effects of the changes (how they affect others and how others respond) and
making sure everything fits after the changes of the journey. That can relate
to changes in a life, organization or community.

? Ripple Effect. Who might be affected by our changes and how might
we manage that impact?

? How might they react and how might we manage that reaction?

? Alignment. What needs to be aligned at this point – structure,

systems, processes, technologies, policies, etc? 
Attunement. What do we need to attend to in order to ensure that

? the people of the organization are attuned – values, competencies,

behaviors, relationships, etc.?

Other QuickStart Packets

Guiding Questions and Templates for
Implementing Heroic Leadership

Customized Quickstart Packet

Choosing the sections from each QuickStart packet that gives your
leadership team the best quick start

Leadership Commitment
Reclaiming the heroic journey as our story – not just larger than life
figures or grand deeds
» Leadership Lite or Leadership Leverage – leading with a sense of
significance, integrity, courage and in service (beyond self)
» Benefits of the heroic journey for individuals – leaders or followers
» 4 Forms of Leadership Courage - the most fundamental characteristic
for leaders of heroic journeys – the quality on which all other
leadership qualities rely

Leadership Roles and Strategies

Six leadership roles with their core strategies to match the requirements
of the heroic journey
» Creating tactics for each of the strategies
» Determining the highest leverage strategies
» Assessing success mid-course

Leadership Webs
The web of aligned leaders and followers required for leadership reach,
power, flexibility and resilience
» How to build leadership webs
» How to maintain leadership webs on the journey
» The contract between leaders and followers
» How followers support and challenge leaders 
Mapping Poeple’s Experience
Even if people initially feel vicitimized, we don’t want them to be victims, but rather to find LEADERSHIP KNOWLEDGE
ways to be the author of their experience.