I’ve just moved house.
I tasked myself with confining the books that matter most to me to a single bookshelf. Not an easy task. I love books.
As I decided which books stay, and which are destined for new readers, I marvelled at those that still matter and why. One, called “Love, Loss, And What I Wore”, documents the story of the author’s life through the clothes she wore.
Simple yet strikingly profound, she takes her readers through the death of a child, divorce and all manner of other heartbreaks, as well as times of fun, joy, and friendships across five decades.
As I stood at my bookshelf and thumbed the familiar pages, I wondered how the book would read if, instead, it bore the title: “Love, Loss, And What I Said. Or Didn’t Say”.
We remember the words that hurt us, often dozens of years on. We’re often just as impacted by words left unspoken.
The people in your care – those tasked with helping you to fulfill your vision – aren’t there just because they have to put food on the table and pay the mortgage (and those who are the loudest about that being their why are the ones who need your immediate attention).
They’re hungry for a sense of belonging. They want what they do to matter. And they need you to at least acknowledge them, first, and then tell them all about it. You’d be amazed how quickly that can turn disinterest into engagement. And presence.
What will the contents of your book be, when you look back over your time as a leader?
What do you need to say, and to whom?
And, mostly importantly, when will you do it?