Getting Commitment from Your Team

In Lady in Waiting. Lady Anne Glenconner tells of serving as Maid of Honor at Queen Elizabeth’s 1953 coronation at Westminster Abbey. Lady Anne writes…

“It was fifteen minutes from when the Queen arrived to when she walked into the Abbey, signaling the beginning of the ceremony. As I stood behind her, I felt so unbelievably lucky. There I was, just happening to be the right person, in the right place, at the right time, quite literally attached to the Queen. Before she set off, a hush fell around the Queen who stood in front of us, ten yards away from the Great West Door. Then she turned to us and said, “Ready, girls?”

We nodded and off we went after her, disappearing into the Abbey. This was a very nervous moment because as the Queen set off we realized that she walked slightly slower than the Duchess of Norfolk, whom we had practiced with for so many weeks. All of a sudden we were having to adjust our pace, but as we were all so in tune with each other, having walked together through so many rehearsals, we adjusted as one.”

With two words, “Ready, girls?” the Queen, as leader, transformed her six attendants into a high-functioning team.

The team immediately ran into a glitch - the Queen's slower than expected pace - and, "as one," self-corrected.

Lady Anne’s account of the opening of the coronation ceremony, parallels Worsley’s account of crossing South Georgia with Shackleton and Tom Crean.

Atop a ridge, engulfed by creeping fog and darkness, the three were in a “grim” situation. After assessing the danger, Shackleton turned to Crean and Worsley and said, “We’ve got to take a risk. Are you game?” Crean and Worsley agreed.

They slid down the mountain - about 900 ft. in two to three minutes - into the unknown.

The Lesson: At key moments, great leaders reach out for commitment from their team.

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