Today on the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks there was a dedication of a new visitors center to commemorate the memory of the passengers and crew of Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania. Upon realizing that their hijacked plane was to be used as a weapon the passengers and crew displayed enormous bravery, averting the even larger damage that was intended for Washington D.C.
In Paris a couple weeks ago, tragedy was averted when three Americans and a French passenger took quick action and subdued a terrorist armed with a machine gun on a train.
Both examples (and there were many others on 9/11) are incredible displays of sheepdog behavior. Being a sheepdog means having a high degree of awareness and a strong sense of mission for others. We need more sheepdogs. We need more sheepdogs in our personal everyday life and we need more sheepdogs in our work life.
A sheepdog mindset is more commonly applied in the concept of law enforcement or the military than in the context of ordinary citizens or business. Yet the world is a chaotic and uncertain place. The nature and scope of terrorism calls for people to be highly aware and have a bias for action. The world of work is also experiencing dynamic and profound changes. We need leaders from any seat to be aware and ready to act.
In our everyday life that means being aware of our physical environment and having a cultivated sense of looking out for others (family, friends, and community). In our work life it means being a leader that is aware of threats and opportunities and being ready to take decisive action for the good of the team and the organization.
Consider being more of a sheepdog. What would that mean for those you live and work with?
What better way to honor the many examples of sheepdog behavior from 9/11 and the many self-less acts of courage and quick action from ordinary citizens, law enforcement, first responders and military than to make a commitment to emulate some of the positive characteristics on display that day.
[For more on the sheepdog mindset see retired Navy SEAL Mark Divine’s book Unbeatable Mind.]