The note said:
This parable is really about giving back, or paying it forward, if you like. What kind of a leader are you?
Are you the kind of leader who thinks only in the short term, or does your vision extend beyond perhaps even your lifetime? What can we learn from this parable?
- There are risks to take in leadership. It's not easy investing precious resources in something that can potentially give you a return. It's very tempting to look at that water and think about all of the "what ifs." What if I use this water to prime the pump and the pump still doesn't work - then I'm stuck with no water? What if this is just some cruel joke?
- Real leadership takes faith. It takes a lot of faith to pour out water that could save your life. Sometimes leadership requires stepping out and doing something that risks our very survival, simply because it's the right thing to do.
- Real leadership cares about those who follow after. The easiest thing to do here would be to drink deeply from the bottle, slake your thirst and then go happily on your way. But there will be another weary traveler crossing those mountains someday. Without your conscientious effort, they will more than likely perish. Someone cared enough to make provision for you; will you return the favor?
Many years ago I attended a conference in which John Maxwell spoke of his desire to add value to everyone he met. That thought has stuck with me through the years. Will you leave people better off than when they first met you, or will you simply take advantage of what they have to offer and move on to the next client (victim)? What difference could you make if you made a commitment to add value to every person with whom you come in contact? It seems to me a better option than leaving a legacy of very thirsty people. Don't neglect to prime the pump!
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