The Dragon Reborn - Chapter 52 [#114]

As Simple As That

        Startled, [Ailhuin] touched her cheek, not seeming to know whether to look at the coins or at [Mat].  "Get them out, you say.  Just like that.  Out of the Stone."  Abruptly she stabbed him in the ribs with a finger as hard as a tree stub.  "You remind me of my husband, Mat Cauthon.  He was a headstrong fool who would sail into the teeth of a gale and laugh, too.  I could almost think you'll manage it."

Ailhuin and Mat, The Dragon Reborn, p. 527

    Emotions are infectious.  Confidence, despair, anger, for example, can rapidly spread through a team.  Mat's enthusiasm and relief at finding the location of Nynaeve, Elayne and Egwene enables him to simplify his mission to "Get them out.  That's all I have to do."  It's an honest simplification; not a measure of brashness for the sake of showing off.  For Mat, it's the first step down the road of the impossible.

    Organizations facing change, or trying to implement change, need to take similar measures.  Confidence, enthusiasm, eagerness at the prospect of change and the possibilities the new path provides are infectious.  For leaders, always in the spotlight, it's important to remember this and recognize that the workforce responds to those subtle non-verbal and emotional cues.  Behind closed doors, disagreement with the direction or implementation is fine (in most cases, it's encouraged); but standing tall in front of the workforce requires a unified front with a positive message and some confident swagger.  Breaking the task into multiple smaller components is a way to develop that swagger in the workforce.  Over time, all those tiny steps take the organization a great deal farther than they originally believed.

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