Last week I was in Perth. It’s great city for kitesurfing. Which is what I learned to do while I was there.

Kitesurfing is an exhilarating sport. There’s massive power in the kite, and if you don’t learn to work with it, it’s going to dominate you every time. It will even kill you.

I did three two-hour lessons. The first two were totally about safety. I learned how to launch the kite safely. How to fly the kite safely. How to land the kite safely. And how to get myself out of trouble – which of course is going to happen at some point!

Throughout my lessons, there was one concept that I found fascinating. My instructor told me that the best way to get myself out of trouble was simply to let go. If the kite’s going mad, wild and crazy, just let go of the bar. And the kite will settle down. And I’ll be OK.

Let go of what you can’t control.

The trick with kiting is to learn to harness the power but not dominate it. It’s not a muscle sport. If you try to dominate it, it will crush you. When you learn the skills to work with the power, you’re moving. In control.

In kitesurfing, they talk about ‘finding the sweet spot’. That spot where you’ve got the right balance between ‘hands on’ and ‘hands off’. Here’s another way of thinking about that:

  • When you’re too hands off, you’re just a spectator on the beach. You’re just watching.
  • When you’re too hands on, you’re going to end up crashing. You’re forcing it.
  • The sweet spot lives in the space where you let stuff happen naturally, and where you do just enough to make stuff happen. With light hands, deliberately and mindfully.

How often could we apply that advice to our workplaces? When we’re trying to make change happen, we’re better off learning to understand the forces that we’re dealing with, and learning the skills to work with them. Rather than trying to impose our will on them. In my Change Makers programme, we talk about lightening up. Doing the work, but not forcing the issue.

Think about:

  • Your staff and what drives them
  • Your industry and what’s shaping it
  • The direction you want to take your organisational or team in
  • The experience you want people to have when they’re around you.

Finding the sweet spot doesn’t happen overnight. It comes from hard experience and acute observation of what happens when you act. Eventually, you’ll nail it. And you’ll be flying.

If you want to go from point A to point B with the just the right amount of effort, find the sweet spot.


Stay tuned for my forthcoming book “Change Makers. Make your mark with more impact and less drama”. Like a copy? Please contact Belinda.

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