My wife and I spent much of our day on a pretty casual hike up Romero Canyon Trail, a really cool route between Summerland and Montecito (near Santa Barbara, CA). We hiked a couple miles up and then began our descent towards our car. Maybe 500 feet from our car, we came upon a mountain biker who had stopped early in his ascent. He was clearly concerned about something…and as we got closer, we could see a 5′ snake across the side-third of the trail.
The snake was not a rattlesnake but, instead, an extremely docile, friendly, and clearly not-concerned-with-us Pacific Gopher Snake. Still – we gave it distance – out of respect for our new reptilian friend.
The snake was an unexpected obstacle – then exciting – and finally something we will reflect upon happily. How often do we leaders see a snake on our path that might intimidate or scare us at first but ends up being something great? It could be a change or innovation, a systemic improvement that comes from outside our box, or a new leader above us with a different way of doing things? In these moments we:
1. Observe the change (See the snake on the trail)
2. Analyze the new challenge’s effect to ourselves (It’s a Pacific Gopher Snake and it will not bite me)
3. Assess and implement our own response to this change (I will walk around Mr. Snake and let him be.)
4. Reflect upon the change with an opinion or emotion (That was a cool snake and I’m happy I have a pic of it!).
The moral of the story: Systematic implementation of standard analysis can make snakes on the trail that much more enjoyable, both, for you and the snake 🙂