Three Valuable Opposing Forces

September 4, 2019

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Three Valuable Opposing Forces

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There’s a special fire-fighting force called “Hotshots.” Their job is to go into areas and launch an offense against an impeding fire line. This requires enormous strength, skill, stamina, and sacrifice. Hotshots work to build a line the fire can’t cross – by digging down into the soil to remove all possible fuel sources and sometimes by strategically starting a fire to fight the fire.

Hundreds of thousands of eyes have been following a particularly fierce storm in the Atlantic Ocean. While inhabitants along the Southeast coast have been busy boarding up windows and evacuating, the only real defense for the fierce wind is an opposing force of nature. And so, everyone has waited to see when those steering currents would cause the hurricane to turn.

There is a valuable life and leadership lesson in these forces of nature – it is the value of opposing forces.

In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins illustrates the value of having the right people in the right places and how having opposing forces, vigorous debates, and differing perspectives can save a company.

It is a fact in life and business that challenges will come. No person or company is exempt. While you can’t always prevent the challenge, you can engage opposing forces to contain and control them.

Here are some of those “opposing forces.”

1. Attitude

Developing a good attitude creates a favorable current that helps steer the challenge in a new direction. Your team will reflect your attitude, so it is especially important that you as the leader set the compass in the right direction.

Do you complain about the challenge or see it as an opportunity to do something differently or better? Do you seek the growth that will come from the challenge? Do you actively steer it in a new direction so as to mitigate damage?

2. Hotshot Leadership

As a leader, you have three choices when faced with a challenge. You can (1) run from it, (2) do nothing and hope the situation resolves itself, or (3) be a “hotshot” leader who proactively defuses the situation.

You can be a “hotshot” leader by creating boundaries, removing the fuel that feeds it, and sometimes by directly confronting it (fighting “fire with fire”). These boundaries, removal of fuel, and confrontation are based on solid communication skills. Good communication allows you to defuse the situation.

3. Teamwork

Developing a solid team creates a formidable force against challenge. Your goal should be to create a team that will aggressively attack an issue, willingly but respectfully voice differing opinions, and openly share varying perspectives and ideas. You need all these in your arsenal against challenge.

They may not always agree on issues, but when faced with a challenge, this kind of team will work together to overcome the challenge. As Jim Collins points out, the difference between companies that survived and even excelled in times of challenge were those who had placed a priority on getting the right people in the right seats. These were people of various experience, skills, talents, and personalities who were able to bring the best of themselves to the team.

The question is not whether a challenge will come. It is just a matter of time, because challenges do come.

The question is, do you have your opposing forces in place – personally and professionally – to confront and steer the challenge in a new and better direction?


For resources on how you can create a great team and establish solid communications with your team, click here to learn about the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report.

As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.