Leadership & Making Waves

William AuxierblogLeave a Comment

Last weekend my wife and I returned to Traverse City, MI, our home for many years, to attend a wedding. On this trip we were reminded that there is nothing better that a summer day in Northern Michigan, nothing like experiencing first-hand a slice of heaven! The wedding ceremony was held outdoors in a vineyard on a hillside. The setting was ideal! The sky was a deep blue with nary a cloud in sight. The water in Grand Traverse Bay varied in color from deep blue to azure green, and up close, crystal clear. The boats, especially my favorite, the sailboats, provided exclamation points to the live masterpiece in front of us. Picture perfect!

The next day was still beautiful with two additions: a few clouds and a strong breeze. The wind created waves on the bay and Grand Traverse Bay was now dotted with white caps. All the boats attached to a mooring tugged on their lines, some aggressively. The previous day, the moored boats melted into the scene in their tranquility. Today the moored boats attracted attention as they jerked, tugged and rolled in the waves. And of course, this made me think about leadership.


Leaders are an integral part of change. Leaders are always implementing change within themselves, with others and within organizations and communities. Implementing change creates a ripple effect that can build momentum and if effectively implemented, culminate in a positive outcome or impact. Patti Johnson, author of Make Waves: Be the One to Start Change at Work and in Life, has a name for those who implement change: Wave Makers. Johnson provides three keys Wave Makers use to implement change.

Wave Makers take action quickly, even when they don’t have all the answers. Most leaders I know like to have all the answers or at a minimum a detailed plan describing possible outcomes prior to taking action, but Wave Makers are quick to act.

Quick action without all the answers requires self-confidence, confidence in the idea and confidence in the other people engaged in the process. Wave Makers share their ideas with as many people as possible thru personal conversations and with people they trust. During those conversations,

Wave Makers solicit other peoples thoughts and opinions and are willing to incorporate this input. Wave Makers make it easy for others to say yes. The easier you can make it for someone to say yes, the more likely you will build momentum and make the impact you desire.

Are you a Wave Maker? Do you know a Wave Maker?

Whether you consider yourself a Wave Maker or not, Johnson’s three keys are good advice for every leader. Quick action, feedback from trusted others and making it easy to say yes will help any change agent implement change within themselves, with others, within the organization and the community.

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