In a World of Change, Tentpole Leadership

This will be our last blog offering for this year -- we’re going to take a couple of weeks off before returning the week of January 8th.

This time of year inevitably brings reflections on change in our lives and the world. Our tradition-rooted holiday celebrations that close the year and begin the new can’t help but bring reflection on what remains the same and what has changed.

Of course, there’s always the turn of the calendar to reflect upon, not to mention changing family circumstances. My oldest child is a high school senior -- at this time next year, he will be coming home from college after his first extended stay away from home.

I walked to lunch in my neighborhood earlier today, stopping at a store that had to relocate this year to make way for a planned upscale restaurant/cocktail “concept” (or so I read in our city’s online-only, Millennial-published newsletter). While there, I purchased a T-shirt they are selling that depicts the iconic water tower that overlooks our neighborhood. It’s no Parthenon or Eiffel Tower, but we take what monuments of stability we can get here in fast-growing Charlotte.

These are small-scale, local changes. They don’t even begin to touch the much larger social and political shifts in our world, the Big Changes that provide fodder for shrill and incessant debate on our phones, laptops and televisions at all hours of the day and night.

We’re going to be talking a lot more about this in 2018, but one of the things I have learned in seven-plus years of community building in F3 and now The Iron Project is the importance of defining your Tentpole. Think of all the communities we belong to as Tents, whether big or small; if the central Tentpole that supports the structure is not firmly anchored in a clear, well-defined Mission and set of Core Principles, the chances of the tent standing upright against internal and external change agents are slim indeed.

So take a few moments this holiday season to think about your core principles and your mission. And come back in 2018 and join us for a conversation about Tentpole Leadership.

Tim Whitmire