Ok, I have to admit it. I’m a “Lostie,” a fan of the recently concluded sci-fi, psychological drama TV series LOST. If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s about the experiences of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 that crashed over an unknown island in the South Pacific Ocean.
LOST was famous for rabbit trail plots, untold secrets, and being the proverbial puzzle wrapped in a mystery inside a conundrum. But when all was said and done, the underlying narrative to LOST was the relationships formed among all the characters and the life they shared together.
I couldn’t help but see the leadership implications of the show’s theme, and in particular, the line of dialogue in the series finale between Christian Shephard and his son Jack, the “leader” of the group of survivors. Christian is speaking to Jack (both of whom are “dead”) about the purpose of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 being gathered together in the “afterlife.”
“The most important part of your life was the time you spent with these people. That’s why all of you are here. Nobody does it alone, Jack. You needed all of them and they needed you.”
The premise is clear for leaders – It’s all about relationships!
As leaders we sometimes get LOST. We begin our leadership journeys with excitement, flying high over the ocean with idyllic dreams of leading people to accomplish great things. But then something interrupts our trip and we find ourselves dealing with all sorts of challenges that can become distractions if not placed in the proper perspective. Whether it’s the impending budget deadline, scheduling the next meeting, or completing the latest project, it’s easy to lose focus of what is most important – people!
In The Leadership Pill – The Missing Ingredient in Motivating People Today, Ken Blanchard and Marc Muchnick make the point that leadership is the process of getting everyone to the place they are supposed to go. That assumes that you are relationally connected with your people so that you understand where each one is at in their own particular journey in your organization, and where all of you need to go as a group to accomplish the organization’s goals.
Considering the average person spends a third of their life at work, leaders need to remember that one of our highest callings is to nurture and develop those under our care and that we are mutually dependent on each other to get where we need to go, both individually and corporately. Don’t get LOST!