I was skiing out West this week. Truth is, when I hit the slopes I’m pretty rusty and my confidence isn’t very high. This is especially problematic for skiing what we call “the bumps.”
The bumps are these little one- to three-foot mounds of snow, or moguls, that are often best skied around and not over (unless you’re just a talented skier). You’ll mostly find these in the expert areas on steeper terrain.
What it takes to ‘ski the bumps’
To ski the bumps well you need to be looking three, four, five bumps or more down the hill. You absolutely cannot be thinking about the bump you’re currently skiing.
If you’re a mediocre skier, you’re looking at the bump you’re on top of and, if you’ve got any speed under you (remember these are usually found on steeper terrain and there is this thing called gravity that can be a real devil when you’re way up high on a steep terrain), you’re likely going to wipe out.
If you’re an okay skier, you’re looking at your next bump and you’re letting your feet do their thing with the current bump. That said, if you get going with any speed you’re also likely going to wipe out.
You’re a skier that should be on the steep bumps if you’re looking three or more bumps down the line. Your feet are adjusting to the current bump and the next bump without even thinking.
If you’re a really good skier, you’re focused on a line you’ve plotted before you even headed south down the hill. In fact, you’ve already visualized the run and are simply executing it. Even better, you’ve done this so much that if something weird happens, you respond confidently and calmly. Lastly, you also have the right skis and it’s highly likely you’ve had a great coach at some point in your life.
A great leader is like a great bump skier
Great leaders are a lot like great bump skiers in that they have a very clear view of how they’re going to get from here to there. They have the right tools for the moment at hand and, because they’ve been coached well, they’re ready for the unexpected. When the unexpected happens, they respond calmly and confidently.
Great leaders are a lot like great bump skiers in that they have a very clear view of how they’re going to get from here to there.
If you watch great skiers, you’ll see they fall down. That’s part of the sport. They love the sport and they get back up, assess what happened, learn any lesson that still may need to be learned, brush off the snow, make fun of themselves so others know it’s okay to fail, and take another run.
If you’re a leader, what’s the terrain you’re skiing?
Do you have the right tools?
Have you been coached well?
Are you ready to have fun and be ok wiping out?