Monday, June 24, 2013

Oxford Institute-Day 3 Windsor

So to be honest, today was not my top day on the itinerary. Windsor Castle sounded to me like a tourist deal. Kinda like a sort of really real Disney castle. Not a place to do much learning about leadership. But whatever, I didn't make the itinerary so I figure, maybe I can still learn something.

We took the train to get there. Once again, why don't we have train service in the states? Seriously, it was amazing, pop-on, pop-off, on-time, all of us comfortable, trains going about 100 miles an hour, took us less than 45 minutes from Oxford to Windsor. We got there, and of course, it is the Disneyland I figured it would be. Tons of tourists running around and then it is 11am, time for the changing of the guard. In marches the band and the guard through the Henry 8th gate (remember Henry the 8th? Kinda important dude in the history of the church fyi)...
 The band marched in walked around and the soldiers followed. The new guys to replace the old guys yelled a lot at each other, walked around in circles for a while and slapped their weapons around. Seriously, this thing should take 3 minutes, but I guess the English are a lot like some churches I know. If something can be done in 5 minutes, I am sure 45 minutes would just make it better. The best part of it was the band, who played all kinds of music, including the theme to "Pirates of the Caribbean" at one point.
 The most interesting thing for me about this picture and relevant for leadership are the people. Look at all the camera phones. Like that picture of the pope's selection, the world has changed. As an article in the Guardian newspaper today talked about. Leadership has now become democratized through the use of social media and phone cameras etc... Everything is live and everyone wants a say.

Which is the relevant thing about leadership for my learning today. Windsor Castle was built west of London on the top of an outcrop so that opposing armies could be seen (up to 3 days away). In those days, being at the top of the hill gave you a special outlook, special knowledge. Being a King was something given to you because of an assumption about your Traits for leadership. Just cause you were of the bloodline, you were given authority and you then had special knowledge. Today, Twitter would let you know someone was coming days before it happened. No need to be up on a hill.

Above is the view from the castle. You see the advantage. Below you see the special entrance for all the dignitaries. Even today, the Trait of being royal matters. But it has morphed. Windsor is a symbol now, it isn't a strategic advantage. Leaders there have to be Adaptive and savvy. Being Queen isn't just about given authority, it is about living into the role and being able to Adapt to situations and read political winds. Charles the First didn't do that we were reminded today. He thought the trait of being King could be enough and as a result, Oliver Cromwell took his head.

Tried out the Sepia filter on my phone for the picture below. Thought it was kinda cool. The flag at the top is the Queens standard. Lets us know she is there, although we didn't see her of course.
 And just so y'all know I am having some fun as I learn. A lunchtime visit to the Blarney Stone restaurant just down the hill from the castle. A pint of protest for the Irish. Visiting a castle reminds me yet again, I am such an American. Leadership/Authority is earned, not given by blood. To that I say cheers!

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