Bobbie LaPorte has combined her experience in executive leadership of Fortune 50 companies with her training as an endurance athlete to forge a method of positive leadership that focuses on strengths and being prepared for anything. Bobbie says you can’t plan for a race that lasts hours, because there is no way to know if your shoe will wear a blister, or some other casualty will alter your course. Bobbie has competed in six Ironman Triathlons and is training for her seventh. In business, she got caught in the dot-com crash when one of the companies she was running got sold. And of course, there’s 2020 and 2021, during which she coached organizations, teams and executives to ride the upheaval of COVID with techniques from the positive leadership playbook which teaches taking risks by doing things in ways that have never been tried before. Now, she’s published a book about her experience called, When The Curveballs Keep Coming: A Leadership Playbook for An Uncertain World
“You can’t plan, but you can prepare.”
To write her book, Bobbie researched and watched executives who were navigating the shifts of the past two years successfully. She says that some were her clients while others were not. In this business climate you never know what will come next. Bobbie says that the old foundations for stability like our functional or technical knowledge, domain experience or accomplishments that led us to senior roles aren’t enough anymore. Now the real skill for leaders is being able to say, “I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. I need help. Let’s put our heads together and figure it out.” This can also be a liability for women because although it’s more natural for us to be empathetic and vulnerable, it can be seen as incompetency, or we can fear it will be seen that way.
However, having the courage to say, “I don’t know. Let’s figure this out together.” To take the risk, be vulnerable and open to possibilities is the first step. In an environment where the boss is gone in a day or your entire team is different, you have to invest in a larger network of supports to be ready when your current support suddenly changes. And that’s the environment today—it’s when, not if. Bobbie says that we’re operating in a constant state of stress mode “and you see the physiological and psychological impacts of that.” But you have to be able to stop and be self-aware in order to create some space for options and possibilities. Read her book for the complete playbook on how to do that and keep from sticking to the status quo.
Predictions and Resources from BobbieLaPorte.com
Listen or watch this conversation for more insights into how preparation can help guide positive leadership. Bobbie predicts that it will not slow down. “The velocity of change and executive networks is only going to increase.” Bobbie’s book, When The Curveballs Keep Coming, is available on Amazon and she offers a business update, a training update and a monthly missive all free on her website. Whatever position you occupy in your organization, Bobbie’s advice about preparation and self-awareness can help you maneuver whatever curveball has landed in your day and help you stay focused on the possibilities the obstacle created.