Watch Out For The Hedgerows (Part One)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010
The Allied invasion of France on D-Day was the most amazing military operation in history. Under the leadership of Dwight Eisenhower, D-Day was a monumental achievement in terms of details, planning, and logistics. But the ongoing operation almost failed because of one missed detail.


Hedgerows were boundary markers in northern France - as many as fourteen per mile. They were huge mounds of earth topped with a dense hedge, often bordered by sunken roads. They were perfect for defensive action and a nightmare for an invading army. Allied forces fought and died to get past two hedgerows in a day.

Leadership offers hedgerow challenges as well.

Hedgerows are unanticipated obstacles that are part of the terrain. No one thinks about them because they have always been there. And they can derail an organization, a church, a family.

Hedgerows are not obviously part of the current struggle. In France, the hedgerows had been there since the Roman Empire. But they had become an accepted part of the landscape. That's how organizational culture and DNA works.

Hedgerows are nothing new - they are the "way things have always been around here".

Hedgerows protect the status quo and make it almost impossible to effect change.

Hedgerows are habits of the mind and heart that we may barely be aware of because we are so used to them.

It takes special skill, courage and intentionality to overcome hedgerows. Next entry, I'll talk about how.

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