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Join me as I focus a leadership lens on fantasy books and series. Current Series: The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson) Contact me: s10473@protonmail.com

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The Eye of the World - Chapters 19, 20 & 21 [#100Days, Day 16]

    Leadership is in the Aftermath

    Moiraine's carefully crafted plans, albeit harried constantly from the outset at Emond's Field, shatter completely in Shadar Logoth.  Clearly, seeking the ruins of Aridhol was not in her plans, under any circumstances.  Her discussion with Lan makes her stance abundantly clear.  She relents, grudgingly even, only because she needs rest.  Venturing off on their own, the three boys discover the city's only denizen, Mordeth; who, by phonetic pronunciation of his name, can't possibly be friendly.  Night falls and the hunters enter the ruined city.  At the same time, a separate evil arises from within the city; indifferent to humans or Shadowspawn.  The band of Emond's Fielders gets separated from each other and from Moiraine and Lan.

"I would gather the young man across the river first, if I could."  For a moment frustration tinged the Aes Sedai's voice. "He is only a few miles from us.  But I cannot afford to take the time.  He should make his way down to Whitebridge safely now that the Trollocs have gone.  The two who went downriver may need me more.  They have lost their coins, and Myrddraal are either pursuing them or else trying to intercept us all at Whitebridge.  She sighed.  "I must take care of the greatest need first."

Moiraine to Nynaeve, The Eye of the World, p. 273

    Leading during a crisis is akin to triage - stop the critical bleeding first, protect the wound, treat for shock and then move on to the next critical victim.  Moiraine is doing exactly that: spending her effort and limited time in pursuing the objective that will make the most impact.  In the normal day-to-day, this is simply prioritization - take care of the most important thing first, then move on.  All of us have a limited bandwidth; spending too much time or capital on the small, sure win (the young man still holding the coin across the river) means that time and capital is no longer available for the more impactful, long term goal (the two lads downriver without their coins).  Small wins will generate momentum, but that momentum is only useful if the victories are all aligned with the larger strategic goal.  If not, then it's potentially wasted effort against progress that could have been made.   Crises will occur, large or small, to a large team or simply to yourself.  Leadership is about pushing people outside their comfort zones, challenging the status quo and driving organizations, teams, and even ourselves to be better than before. 


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