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Posted By Ted Baumhauer

In Nancy Ortberg's book unleashing the POWER of rubber bands she briefly mentioned there was a difference between balance and equilibrium. I've been thinking about that and she's right there is a difference. Managers strive to keep things in equilibrium while leaders work to move the equilibrium from the lowest level of stability to a higher level while maintaining a balance.

 Managers manage, they maintain. That implies they keep things they way they are. In a lot of organizations it is easy for people to adapt to the current situation and to get comfortable. From my perspective that's what a manager would be good at, keeping people comfortable and managing the forces that are trying to pull the current situation out of equilibruium.

 Leaders are different in that they take themselves and us to a different place. That means that sometimes they have to make us uncomfortable and upset the equilibrium to push it into a higher place. That's balancing! Balancing the status quo for what we can and need to become; the way we do things with the way we need to start doing things; current infrastructure with new technology, methods, and attitutdes. Raising the standards is risky. It takes constant attention and constant adjustments. To physically balance an object you keep your eye on the top while making adjustments on the bottom. That is what a leader does! The leader keeps their focus on where they want to go while making adjustments in the present. Balance and equilibrium are different! So are managing and leading.





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Ted Baumhauer


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