Putting clichés into action: What I learned on an EO Forum retreat
Contributed by Damon Finaldi, an EO New Jersey member and president of Tele-Data Solutions
When it comes to leadership training, you hear a lot of clichés:
- To achieve success, everyone must row in the same direction.
- To arrive at your destination, you have to know the direction you’re headed.
- If you don’t know your destination, you can’t make an effective plan to get there.
The list goes on. Little did I know how an EO Forum retreat would make these sayings resonate much more deeply with me.
When I agreed to attend the EO retreat at Moosehead Lake in the Maine woods for a weekend of camping and canoeing, I was excited to move outside my comfort zone. Retreats are a great way to break out of day-to-day routines, grow personally and professionally, and have fun.
I’m also a big fan of Jocko Willink’s and Leif Babin’s book, Extreme Ownership: How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win. Our Forum read the book as part of our retreat exercise to discuss leadership principles.
Very shortly, I would see those principles in action: Nine of us were about to spend the next two-and-a-half days camping and canoeing our way through the Maine wilderness.
To achieve success, everyone must row in the same direction
Almost the minute we got into our canoes, laden with two days’ worth of supplies, those clichéd sentiments you hear from keynote speakers and motivational consultants became real-life wisdom.
If we weren’t all rowing together and working in unison, everything became more difficult. We had to expend way more energy than if we rowed in harmony, and if someone wasn’t rowing, the canoe would zig-zag off course. To accommodate for these passive detractors (“paddle dippers,” we called them), everyone had to work twice as hard to get us back on track and carry those who weren’t doing their fair share.