Leadership at Lord's with Laughology, the tale of the Fosbury Flop and how thinking differently and creatively can boost leadership
In January the home of cricket, Lord's, welcomed leaders from across all sectors to be inspired by great minds. The event was hosted by Harvey Thorneycroft Ltd and brought together a variety of personalities and organisations including Sir Ian McGeechan, Michael Roux Jr and Laughology who gave insights into how thinking differently and creatively can boost leadership.
The story that stuck in my mind from the event was the tale of the Fosbury Flop. If you don't already know it I urge you to watch the youtube clip and to use it to inspire your teams to think differently. Watch it here. The Frosbury Flop is the most common high-jump technique. Most people of my generation would only know the high jump as it was taught to us at school: you run up to the bar and throw yourself over it backwards aka the Fosbury Flop. However this was not always the way.
Until 1968 professional jumpers jumped over the bar forwards. Then, at the 1968 Olympics, after months of training and perfecting a new technique Dick Fosbury 'flopped' over the bar backwards and landed on his back. Laughter rippled around the stadium and one newspaper labelled him the"World's Laziest High Jumper", another said he looked like a "fish flopping in a boat." However the last laugh was on him as by the end of the Olympics, Fosbury had not only won gold but also set a new Olympic record and a new way of jumping that would then become the norm.
This story is a great example of how daring to do something different can pay off and if you deliver it in the right way others will follow, even if it appears to be radical in the first instance. As a leader it is your responsibility to inspire people to continue developing and to do things differently. People will only do this if they see you doing things differently. Sometimes we become so comfortable in the way we do things that taking even a calculated risk can prove a challenge. Thinking differently is a must as a leader otherwise you and your team will be left behind. It's how you encourage others to follow. If like Dick Fosbury you have enough conviction and believe in the concept you have developed, your team will undoubtedly follow.