6 leadership lessons we can learn from the Holy Land.
Have you ever dreamed about visiting the Holy Land? You can literally walk in the steps of some of history’s greatest leaders. I recently traveled to Israel and Jordan. These modern-day countries can teach us valuable leadership wisdom.
#6. IT’S HARD TO HATE A PARTNER (ISRAEL AND JORDAN): These neighboring countries have a deeply contentious history. Even so their leaders have agreed to new water, rail and trade projects. Both countries will be wealthier and more stable . . . because it’s tough to hate a partner.
#5. COMMON SENSE IS A POWERFUL TOOL (TEL AVIV): In less than 75 years Israel has gone from mostly arid desert to having meaningful agriculture. Common sense water projects are the reason why. Desalinization plants have been built to make fresh water for people to use. Their waste water is then cleaned and used for agriculture. Don’t over-think your problems. This simple, common sense leadership initiative gives the country the water and food it needs to grow.
#4. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF (ISRAEL): Israel is a tiny country (8 million people in a space smaller than New Jersey). Even so, it is bordered by four countries that, at times, have been enemies. Setting aside the political issues, one thing is clear . . . Israel strongly believes in itself. It is willing to take a stand even if it doesn’t see the odds in its favor. It tenaciously builds infrastructure, security, business and governmental systems to promote its long term success. An organization needs more than good ideas. It needs a strong sense of itself and a commitment to systems that make things happen.
#3. THE COMMON GOOD TRUMPS PERSONAL AGENDAS (ISRAEL): Drive around Israel and one thing is inescapable – industriousness for the common good. Roads, schools, museums, homes, factories and tourist sites have been developed in just a few decades. Leaders are clearly trying to do something good for a nation . . . and not simply serve their personal agendas.
#2. IF YOU’VE GOT IT, DON’T HIDE IT (PETRA): You would recognize the most visited place in Jordan . . . and that’s no accident. Petra is an ancient city with buildings carved into sandstone canyon walls. Leaders in Jordan deliberately arrange for Petra to be featured in movies like Indiana Jones and Transformers. That publicity brings tens of thousands of visitors each year, and big money to the Jordanian economy. Shrewd leaders understand that it’s important to get the word out about their organization’s strengths. Once people know about them, they will go out of their way to experience something special.
#1. CREATE SAFETY FOR THOSE WHO DON’T AGREE WITH YOU (JERUSALEM): Israel is a Jewish nation. Yet the Catholic Church is the largest private landholder in the country. In the capitol city of Jerusalem, Muslims, Jews and Christians live side-by-side. They share some of the most contested real estate on Earth. There is a Muslim shrine above the Jewish people’s most holy site (the Temple). The various authorities have made it safe for everyone to experience Jerusalem. It may seem counter-intuitive, but good leaders create stability and growth by welcoming disparate voices.
A personal note . . . I put off going to the Holy Land for a long time. It’s easy to do because of logistics, cost and political instability. However, the trip was far more enriching that any other trip I’ve taken. If a Holy Land trip is on your bucket list, I encourage you to make it happen. It’s worth it.
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