The Thermal Leader. More than just Hot Air.

Bald Eagle in FlightBeing a thermal leader isn’t all about hot air. It’s actually a great thing if you’re leading a team of eagles. Or perhaps any type of bird that knows how to use thermals in order to stay aloft for very long periods of time without getting burnout.

Thermals are what many land-based birds, particularly raptors, use in order to remain in the air for extended periods of time without using up lots of energy. Sea birds like albatrosses use similar techniques for remaining aloft, but the details of how they do so are a little different. Land-based birds use the updrafts rising from the windward sides of hills, mountains and even folds in the ground. Sea birds use the air that rises upwards from the windward side of waves. The designs of the wings of land-based birds and sea birds differ because they use different techniques for soaring. We are not going into those details in this post, and you can find out more by conducting your own research if you feel so inclined.

What I would like to point out here is that being a practical, effective leader is like providing the training and modelling how one can use thermals to greatest advantage.

Aerial viewEffective leaders train their staff on how to read the different types of ground that affect how, where and when thermals are produced. Colour, composition and slope gradient all combine to produce predictable thermal patterns which must be interpreted correctly if one is to benefit from them, as do wind direction, temperature and air density. Staff are trained in how to remain within the boundaries of the rising thermals or they might lose altitude if they stray into the downdraft. Staff need to be trained in how to “hop” from thermal to thermal in order to extend range and time aloft. They need to be familiar with the behaviour patterns of different types of prey in different sectors at different times of the day, so that they can seize them when the opportunities present themselves. Remaining aloft for extended periods also means being in a position to see what other opportunities there are in areas not usually traversed and observed.

While conducting business ought to be more akin to farming rather than hunting for sustainable success, every business needs to incorporate elements of hunting in order to stay in touch with what is happening in the business sphere. This translates into higher quality of intelligence, which is translated into better business decisions.

So, are you a thermal leader? Do you have raptors on your team, and are they integrated? Do they work well together? Your responsibility is to create the conditions and train your staff to flow in those conditions in order to create continuous value for all stakeholders. How have you been doing that?

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