An estimated 6 billion people watch The Weather Channel. Six billion - with a B. This brings a couple of questions to mind -
- Why do we care so much about the weather?
- What does this have to do with leadership?
- The most obvious reason is that it does affect some of our activities. Blocked roads, cancelled youth soccer games, and rainouts on planned trips to the beach or the pool are all impacts the weather has on us. Sometimes it's useful to be the first in the pre-blizzard grocery line. That's not all of the appeal, though.
- We like to see that other people have it worse than we do. There's a morbid fascination that we hold for disaster. No, we don't wish it on other people (perhaps with a couple of exceptions for some of us,) Seeing storms and tidal surges and tornadoes reminds us that our problems are small in comparison.
- It gives us something to talk about. If we have absolutely nothing else in common with another person we can always fall back on the "Isn't great we're having weather?" conversation starter. Weather beats gossip as an appropriate conversational device - perhaps not always more interesting, but not potentially damaging to relationships and reputations.
- We use our information as a status indicator. It's great to be the one with the most current, most accurate scoop on conditions that affect the people around us. If we're an authority on current weather, perhaps we're equally well-informed about other important current information. That can be the perception - or not.
- Some of us like to learn about science, and weather is part of that. There are true weather geeks - no value judgement implied here, this is a statement about enthusiasm level. We want to know what to look for in a cloud that might indicate an impending tornado. We are interested in the difference between sleet and freezing rain, even though both conditions make the roads slippery.
No offense intended to The Weather Channel, but just because we watch the predictions of what's coming we don't know what's really coming until it gets here. We can batten down the hatches and hunker down and find later that we've squandered a day for no reason. Or we can press on, risking that we'll be stuck or that we'll get wet in our best outfit.