How to surf your way through a revolution
Jeff & Lindsay Sage / 12 July 2022

Leemore, California is a strange place to hold a surfing competition. 

It’s 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Yet, between the barns and horse ranches and farm fields, Kelly Slater (one of the best surfers of all time) built exactly that - epic surf waves. 

Basically, he purchased a 20 acre ranch, flooded it with water, built a train on the outside edge of the flooded area, and now runs the train through the water causing, you guessed it, waves. 

And not just any wave. By controlling the speed of the train, the angle and the water levels, the system can create the exact same wave, everytime. Judges can now rank the performance of competitors on the exact same degree of difficulty. Offering something that just doesn’t occur in nature. 

It’s a revolutionary piece of vision and technology and in time, may become the norm for surfing competitions. For now, enthusiasts from all over the world are happy to pay $10,000/hour for the privilege of rockin’ the righteous amusement park. 

It reminded us of the current pandemic revolution and how we all might take a lesson from Kelly on how to lead out of it. 

There’s a difference between events that you live through and events that change you. We can all agree the pandemic changed us. And although there are signs of a collective resolve to move to a better place in the future, it’s not going to happen on its own. It never does. 

It’s going to take some leadership. 

And a crisis has two kinds of leadership. The kind that gets you through the crisis and the kind that rebuilds after the crisis. 

Today, lots of things are different:

  • The way we work;
  • The way we buy;
  • The way we live;
  • The way we travel;
  • The way we gather;
  • The way we look at relationships;
  • The way we engage with the word.

All different. 

That means something for your business. Clients and consumers everywhere are not going to expect, respect or accept a return to the status quo. (See: the Great Resignation)

So the question is: are you actually serious about changing the game? Or are you content to have a competitor do it and spend your time struggling to catch up?

Sometimes, leading out of a revolution is about exploring what might not work in order to discover new solutions. Consider exploring those edges a little as you begin to chart new paths and set strategic directions. 

For some, it’s just too scary to lean into something that might not work. For others, the game has already changed and there’s no going back.

Either way, surf’s up! 🏄‍♀️
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