Leaders Don't Get Parachutes

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As a little girl, I LOVED to fly.  My fondest memory of flying was meeting the pilots and being allowed to explore the cockpit.  Something about the cockpit fascinated me!  How did they know what all of those buttons and levers did? I remember the pilots willingness to indulge my childish curiosity. In my mind, they controlled the biggest bird in the sky and I needed to know how.  

Fast forward a few years.  The little girl has since faded away.  Now when I fly, I understand the weight of responsibility that pilots carry.  They are still cheerful for the most part, but now I understand the gravity of their jobs. Not only did they control the biggest bird in the sky but they were responsible for every life on the plane. I can't imagine doing my job everyday without the peace of having my feet firmly planted on the ground able to yell for help whenever I need it. And as if that wasn't heavy enough, pilots do not have parachutes. I thought about this the other day on a flight as I returned from a speaking engagement. 

Then it hit me: In the face of failure, there is no hierarchy. Just like pilots can't blame passengers for a crash.  Leaders can't blame employees for failures within the organization.  

Parachutes are preparation for failure and an exit strategy.  When you have an exit strategy that means that you are not 'all in.' So if I'm the leader and I'm not all in, then how can I expect my team to be engaged and committed?