We are all connected.

I’ve had a fascinating couple of days working with some senior African civil servants training them in leadership skills and managing change. Its fascinating in so many ways but what I really love is meeting people who have almost nothing in common with me or with most of the people I know and finding that deep down we are all so similar. It doesn’t seem to matter where we come from, we all have the same fears, the same dreams, the same motivations, and even the same excuses for not achieving more. We may look different, we may talk different languages, wear different clothes and we may appear to have different beliefs but we are so much more alike than we are different.

It reminds me of a wonderful story a wise man told me years ago. He said there are two islands next to each other in the Pacific Ocean, one of them had a volcanic eruption a few years ago and is bleak and rocky with almost no plant life, while the other one is covered in lush jungle with pristine white beaches.

On the surface they look totally different but if you go under the water you quickly discover that many of the same fish swim around them, and as you go deeper still you’ll see that much of the plant life is the same, deeper still you will notice that they are both surrounded by the same coral reefs and it would be hard to tell which island you were swimming round, and once you go all the way down, as deep as you can go, you reach the bottom and find that the two islands are actually connected and that they are in fact part of the same thing.

However different we may look on the surface, underneath we are all connected. The essence of leadership is seeing this.

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