Rocks in the river

While I have been known to do some high risk activities (like introducing significant change into an organization) there are some activities for which I choose to do vicariously through other people.

White water kayaking is high on that list.

Image: MS Office Imagebank
Now if you are someone who likes to put on a skin tight wet-suit, then squeeze yourself into a Kleenex-thin fiberglass shell that has a particularly annoying habit of preferring an inverted position, and then put said shell at the mercy of a raging river full of bus sized objects, then good for you. But not me.

That's not to say that I don't admire the athletic prowess and skill required. Or that we can't learn a leadership lesson.

From what I can gather from the dry safety of the shoreline is that the river has two parts - the soft water, and the hard rocks.  The objective is to stay in the soft parts of the river.

Meeting a hard object in the middle of the river can hurt you quite suddenly.

So why not do river rafting where there are no large, hard obstacles?

It would be boring.

It would not be challenging.

It would be "safe".  (See my earlier post on this topic here)

While the soft part of the river can hurt you (like drown you), it's the place where all the fun happens.  The churning eddies (which would be a great name for a band), the souse holes, the pillows, and boofs (yes, these are all legitimate terms from the Whitewater Rafting Glossary) would never be there to provide all the fun if the obstacles weren't there.

Sometimes we can't remove the obstacles in the way.

But that shouldn't stop us from reaching our objective.

Like a white water kayaker, not only should we map out our obstacles (think risk assessment), but we should also consider how these obstacles might help us in achieving our objectives.

The best creative solutions need a problem to solve, or work around, or overcome.

And you can have fun while you do it.

Related Posts:
If you are not willing to risk, you are not willing to win.
The 2 things that drive organizational change


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