Login | Contact

The Inflexible Leader: The Story of the Zax

Posted on Jan 18 2013 under Blog Posts

You might recall as a child the Dr. Seuss story called “The Zax” in which two Zax found themselves coming from opposite directions only to come face to face neither of them willing to budge or to change. As one Zax stated “For I live by a rule that I learned as a boy in South-Going School, Never Budge! …Never budge in the least! Not an inch to the west! Not an inch to the east!” So, as they continued to argue, each determined to WIN at all costs, they stood their ground with feelings of pride and self-righteousness. For if I am RIGHT, you must be WRONG. And, here is where we get stuck. In the case of the Zax, they stayed put for 59 years while the world grew around them.

As a business leader, do you ever find yourself being a Zax with others be it customers, partners, employees or other team leaders? Do you live by those rules that keep you rigid and inflexible to change? Well, if you do, you might just find yourself being left behind, stuck in your rightness paying a high price. You might even WIN your position but at what cost? Often, the cost of being inflexible and unwilling to look from the other’s perspective undermines your identity as an authentic leader, damages relationships, and changes people’s perceptions of how they see you as being an effective leader.

zaxThe next time you find yourself being a Zax, then take a step back, and think about the cost. Ask yourself, “What do I lose for being right?” “What could we both gain if we honored each other’s view point? and still be able to get what we need. In the case of the Zax, they simply could have worked together in a creative way to move past each other without compromising their value. They could simply put arm into arm, and twirl each other around so that they could continue down their paths. Of course, not all situations can be resolved easily and yet sometimes, it just takes a simple act of stepping back. You might lose sight if you fight to be right.

By Pattie Porter

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a reply.

  • Subscribe by Email

    Join our mailing list to receive our newsletter and blogs!

  • Recent Posts