What Do Leadership and Jigsaw Puzzles Have in Common?

Aug 2, 2022

My wife loves jigsaw puzzles.  I do not.  The other day she was working a puzzle that had 1,000 pieces.  I think that’s impressive.  I could work one that has four pieces.  Ok, maybe eight, I could do eight, but beyond that, I’m not really very good.  I was curious, how many pieces are in the largest jigsaw puzzle?  So I looked it up.  The largest puzzle you can buy has 54,000 pieces.  It’s several small pictures combined into one puzzle.  The puzzle is 28 feet long and the box weighs 50 pounds.  The largest single picture puzzle has 42,000 pieces!  Can you imagine working that puzzle?  To me, all the pieces look the same.  Some are blue and that could be the water or the sky.  Some are green and that could be the grass or the trees.  White and that could be the clouds or part of a building.  So I never know exactly where pieces should go.  But my wife who is experienced and talented at working puzzles, she sees the details, the little differences in each one.  She says the blue in the sky is a little different than the blue in the water and the green of the grass is a little different shade than the green of the trees.   There are slight variations that make each piece unique.

Each one of us is unique.  We have different backgrounds, different skill sets, and different experiences that make each one of us unique.  As leaders, our job is to identify the unique parts of the people we lead and plug them into just the right place.  You see when each piece is put in just the right place, it makes all the pieces around it look better.  So take the time to get to know the people you are trying to lead and identify those slight variations, those special things about each one of them.  Then you can find just the right place to plug them in, so that everybody can benefit.

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