Leadership and Financial Parallels

A few years ago, I read High Altitude Leadership by Chris Warner and Don Schmincke.  In this book, the authors tell us how the dynamics of mountaineering provide some tailor-made metaphors for our business world.  I won’t list all those metaphors in today’s blogpost but many of them do relate to personal finance as well.

High altitude leaders tame fear in themselves, their teams, and their organizational cultures by taking decisive and disciplined action.

I think when it comes to money management, we’re not decisive and disciplined enough.  I’m not decisive enough.  I avoid making some financial decisions because of fear of the results or because I’m waiting for circumstances (like the stock market) to change.  I need to disregard things I cannot control like financial predictions and focus on what I can control.

When it comes to creating rules, use them wisely.  After hearing about the Nordstrom employee handbook from someone at a conference years so, I walked into a Nordstrom office and asked for a copy.  What I heard was true.  It distilled everything all employees really need to know down to its essence and put it on one card:  “Nordstrom Rules:  Rule # 1:  Use your good judgement in all situations.”

I think when it comes to money management we do know what we don’t know.  Spending more than you make is a bad habit for all of us and an easy metric to identify.  It’s our behaviour that’s difficult thing to change.  We all need help with our behaviours from time to time.

Great organizational leaders sometimes endure extreme discomfort.  That’s when real leadership is tested, validated and proven.

Anyone can be a great captain in calm seas but it’s adversity that tests leaders.  Stepping out of our financial comfort-zone and getting to the root causes of our financial mistakes are not easy things to admit.  I’ve tried to do that more, using my blog as a record of my mistakes.  High Altitude Leadership tells us great leaders readily admit when things aren’t working and do so, so they can get after issues immediately and correct them with unrelenting perseverance.

Mountaineering metaphors in High Altitude Leadership repeatedly tell us that leadership is an endless journey full of risk.  Although plans are made and while our paths may seem clear, you many still fall down and fall down hard.  Money management is no different and there are always new risks ahead.  With some awareness, good behaviours and a desire to work through challenging situations I’m convinced most of us can reach our financial summits.

What is your biggest obstacle to get to your financial summit?  How are you tackling that mountain?

6 Responses to "Leadership and Financial Parallels"

  1. Good reminders! Sometimes I get caught up in all of the different options out there regarding my finances, and can end up with little change because I’m afraid to make a mistake. But, as long as I do my homework and educate myself on the best options then it will work out fine. And guess what – if it ends up to be a mistake, then I can learn from that. As long it it’s nothing too costly!


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