Are You a House Cut or a Chair Cut?

Leadership Lessons from the Barber Shop

I got a haircut today. Are you excited to hear that news? At this stage of my life it takes about 3 minutes and, according to the pair of Vietnamese that cut my hair, I am “easy money.” They laugh and say that every time I come by for a haircut. They tease with one another about who will get to cut my hair because I am so easy to do and they think I am a big tipper.

Several years ago I gave up on dealing with my hair. What hair that I had left was not, nor had ever been, very cooperative. On calm days it tended to want to go wherever it wanted despite the lotions and potions that I piled on it to keep it down. And on a windy day, it went wherever the wind blew. So, one day, I asked my barber to make a suggestion. She suggested that I just go to a “#1 razor guard, cut it really short and be done with it. I did it and I loved it.

You can’t imagine the freedom came with that decision. I no longer had to wait in line for my particular barber that remembered how to cut my hair. I now was no longer what barbers call a ”Chair Cut”. I was now a “House Cut”. All I needed to tell whoever cut my hair was “#1 all over” and they would take it from there.

It is now simple.

It is now easy.

There is zero stress involved.

In fact, it has been liberating to some degree.

Now for the Leadership Application

How over complicated do we make our lives? How overcomplicated do we make our leadership journey? Lately, I am working on simplifying my leadership journey. Instead of being caught up in all of the trendiest leadership and management methodologies that you can pay thousands of dollars to learn from some guru, I want to focus on the essentials. I want to cut out the extra stuff that culture and traditions have piled on. Now, don’t worry. I am not giving up on reading and trying to stay abreast of all that is out there in the leadership development realm. I am a long-time student and observer of leadership from a distance and also from up close. And I will continue to do that. Even when what I see isn’t very pretty.

I just want to simplify things and focus on being the leader that I am called to be for those that matter the most to me and not focus on the trappings of and titles that sometimes accompany a leadership position in secular (and even ministry) positions.

I think it may also be that I am starting to catch a glimpse of my own mortality and I want to make sure that I am focusing on the “Object” and not the “Frame” that it sits in.

Does that make sense to anyone else?


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I am the husband of a beautiful and wonderful woman. I am the father of two of the greatest kids on the planet. I am a father-in-law to a great young woman. And I am Papa to three very special grandchildren. In my spare time I am an active blogger and writer. And if there is any time left over, I work with small non-profit organizations and churches on the topics of change management, crisis intervention and leadership development.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.