A Preview from my Book: HorseTalk Lessons in Leadership

I am working on a book version of the “day in the pasture”. I so truly believe that how you are in the pasture is how you are in your professional and personal life that I have committed  big blocks of time to just me, my laptop and solitude . . . sometimes accompanied by Sirius radio.

The goal has been to put together lessons that I believe the horses and the horse day have taught participants and can teach you, too. Here is a preview of the book, the format, and a lesson learned.

I do look forward to the book being finished; I would like to think it will be credible, I am pretty sure the book launch will be stellar!!!

This lesson is to make yourself as big or as small as the situation dictates.

The Story

The group was working on the challenge called Obstacle Course. In this challenge the group designs a course with three obstacles. As a team the challenge is to get the horse through the course without touching or leading the horse.

I gave the options to the group that they could make themselves smaller or make themselves bigger. The goal of “smaller” means to be “quieter” in your verbal, vocal or your visual. I didn’t think of smaller as physically smaller but this particular group of participants did think that way.

During the challenge I looked around and all the humans were crouched low on their thighs like kindergartners. I couldn’t figure out what was happening. They took “smaller” to mean literally “smaller”.

HorseTalk Insights

The real challenge in the obstacle course is to know when to make yourself bigger and when to make yourself smaller.

Bigger usually gets more acceleration and smaller or quieter gets more calmness. First you want to ask yourself, what is your desired outcome? Then decide on bigger or smaller.

Horses are flight animals so we never know when we will need to move quickly when they choose flight over fight. I was a little concerned because it is harder to move quickly when you are in a crouched position. Making themselves smaller by crouching was not their safest option.

Life and Business Lessons

In horses, in communication and in leadership it is always mindset first.  First decide on the goal, the bigger picture. Then you can decide on how you get the desired result: make yourself bigger or smaller for each situation.

You need to give an employee bad news. Decide first if you want to be “big” seated behind your desk, or “small” sitting next to the individual.

You want to contribute at a meeting. Stand up, make yourself bigger.

Your Call to Action

It is not as simple as making oneself bigger is always more effective or that making oneself smaller is less effective. Fit the right response to the situation. First you want to decide on the most effective strategy. Once you decide on the strategy then you figure out how to implement the strategy: bigger or smaller.

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