Monthly Archives: July 2011

Why Strong-Ties?


It has occurred to me that I have not told you that the name of my old blog was “Strong-Ties for Life and Leadership”. ┬áLet me tell you why that metaphor is important to me.

Several years ago, a friend of mine expressed amazement about the strength of hurricane Andrew that swept through Homestead, Florida in 1992 and the devastation that was created in its wake. What stood out most in his mind was not the degree of destruction, but rather the houses that were left standing in the midst of it all. It turns out that this was no accident. During construction, most of the homes that stood strong were reinforced with simple little devices called hurricane straps, or strong ties. These little devices were designed specifically to prevent the massive devastation that can be caused by the strong winds of a hurricane. Interestingly enough, these little devices can only be installed while the home is being constructed. They cannot be added later, and certainly not just before the storm hits.

Many who heard of the coming devastation scrambled frantically to save their homes. They boarded up the windows, stacked sandbags to prevent flooding, and tied down anything they thought might blow away. Unfortunately for many, those desperate efforts were futile. As hard as they worked, it was simply too little, too late. Their homes were destroyed.

You see when it comes to weathering the storms of life and challenges of leadership, Strong-Ties must be put in place during the construction phase. Some of us were fortunate to have parents, friends, pastors, teachers, mentors and leaders who helped put these Strong-Ties in place early in our lives or in our business careers, and we have continued to build on them. We count ourselves blessed.

Others of us have encountered the storms less prepared and have some rebuilding to do. Those storms have impressed on us the necessity of incorporating these Strong-Ties into our lives and into our businesses. Unlike the house devastated by the hurricane, we have the fortune of being able to learn as we go, and incorporate those Strong-Ties as soon as we recognize the need for reinforcement.

Of course, it is quite possible that over the course of time, Strong-Ties have developed in your life that have actually become Strong-Holds which need to be untied, in order for you to rebuild toward your goals. Some of those destructive ties, such as poor attitudes, habits, and self-image can hold us firmly in our failure and limit our success. Often these negative Strong-Ties are harder to break free from than the more positive ones are to incorporate. This may be where it would be helpful to reach out to an executive coach or personal counselor.