LEADERSHIP KNOWLEDGE

The Power of
Knowledge
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
LEADERSHIP KNOWLEDGE

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Why This QuickStart Topic?

» The Guiding Questions for Leadership Teams

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1 » How are We Beginning the Journey?

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2 » The First Test – The Guardians of the Threshold

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3 » Three Tests on the Path

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Tests in Completing the Heroic Journey

» Templates for Mapping the Likely Tests

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How We Are Beginning The Journey

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The Power of Knowledge
Why this QuickStart Topic?
LEADERSHIP KNOWLEDGE

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

“Knowledge of the journey is the foundation
on which the leadership
rolees and strategies
rest”

1 » Know what to do. Knowledge of the journey is the foundation on which
the leadership roles and strategies rest. It helps make sense of why each
strategy is important and how the strategies support each other, which increases confidence and sureness of execution. Knowledge of the journey
also makes it much easier to respond to surprises and new factors that
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
experience.

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 journey”

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

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LEADERSHIP KNOWLEDGE

“How much of the
experience people can
author will vary widely,
but the author posture
and the ability to selfmanage is key”

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.

?

Who is beginning the journey with a sense of heeding a call to go
forth to do something of worth?

?

Which groups or individuals feel like they have been thrown into the
journey by us?

?

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
Threshold
“The first tests are
getting past what are
called the Guardians
of the Threshold. These
are the internal and
external forces that try
to stop us before we
even get out of the door”

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
Guardians of the Threshold. These are the internal and external forces that
try to stop us before we even get out of the door. Internal guardians can be
doubts and fears or simply being tired and worn out. External guardians can
be such things as a lack of resources, undermining colleagues or executives
or too few committed leaders and followers

?

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
guardians?

?

What might we do to deal with our organization’s guardians
that can undermine the journey?

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LEADERSHIP KNOWLEDGE

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

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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 occur on three levels:
idividual, 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”

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
of challenges deals with endings – letting go of old ways of doing things, relationships, places of work, structures, processes, identity, etc. The second
set of tests relate to beginnings – discovering and mastering the new. These
are often the most deceptively difficult tests. The third set of tests relates
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
performance.
These tests will occur on three levels: individual, group and organizationwide. 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 connected 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.

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

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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?

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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.?

LEADERSHIP KNOWLEDGE

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

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KEY INDIVIDUALS + GROUPS

HEED A
CALL

THROWN
IN

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LURED BLUNDERED
IN
IN 

LEADERSHIP KNOWLEDGE

ACTIONS TO HELP PEOPLE ASSUME AN
AUTHOR POSTURE

Even if people initially feel vicitimized, we don’t want them to be victims, but rather to find
ways to be the author of their experience.

Mapping Poeple’s Experience

HOW WE ARE BEGINNING THE JOURNEY