#983 – Leadership and Momentum – A Wave of Influence

I’m not sure when it started…early 1980’s and I think on the West Coast (although there is some debate on this)  The “wave” has become a constant at most any event where there is more than 10,000 people present. Even local high school games will have one or two who always try to get the wave going (and the proud parents of those kids hoping this was the one place to avoid the wave).

If you have watched the formation of the wave, you’ll notice it takes a little while to get going. The wave never takes place at the beginning of the game, usually about two-thirds of the way through. A lull has crept into the game and someone thinks to themselves “Self, I think I am going to try and convince 50,000 people to stand up at a certain time and throw their hands in the air….we’ll do it until everyone is absolutely sick of it and they get bored”.

So, that someone gets a few people together and they start it out. “One! Two! Three!” And a few people stand.  “One! Two! Three!” and a few more rise up for the sake of the wave. This happens a few times and the enthusiasm starts to build.  But there is always that place in the crowd that are the party poopers ( “every party needs a poppers and that’s why we invited you” ). Every time the wave gets to them, they become a 30 foot wall of an obstacle and it just dies. But the crowd keeps building and the momentum finally takes over and the wave breaks through the obstacle and goes around (and around) the stadium to the delight of all who are present.

There’s something about momentum. When it’s going in your direction, momentum can be a leader’s best friend. If you are leading against the mtide of momentum, bracing yourself may be a good option.

Over the next two posts, we will take a look at the benefits of momentum, how to use it and what the leader should do if momentum turns and goes against him.

So back to the wave, my son and I recently participated in a wave that for him, was a great experience.  I watched him anticipate every time a group started to try and get the wave going. “Come on!” he would scream. “You can do it, keep trying.” And finally, “Dad, they did it…come on get ready to stand up.” And so I did and when the wave had lost it’s momentum for the night, I sat back down, happy for the experience with my son, but just as glad that someone took that first step to lead.

Now GO Lead!

(Leadership 1K is a journal into the mission of leaders and leadership. To receive daily updates through email or RSS feeds, click on the links in the right corner)

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