Today we will be talking about your King and Queen and how their relationship has a big impact on your success.
Throughout history, Kings and Queens have been a complementary team when it comes to running the empire. But maybe not in the way you expect!
Lets come back to our Knights of the Round Table. Do you remember King Arthur and Queen Guinevere? Some would say it was the greatest love story in history (Arthur married the ‘fairest, most noble woman’ in the Roman world), others say it was the greatest betrayal (Guinevere is said to have had an affair with the Knight Lancelot and set in chain events that would lead to the downfall of King Arthur).
But few people notice the incredible working relationship the pair shared. It was Arthur, who conceived of the plan to search for the Holy Grail (a legendary treasure that would supposedly yield incredible benefits for humankind. It was Guinevere who in many more recent versions of her story, enabled Arthur to put the plan into action. It is this version of the story that we refer to today.
Arthur was an archetypal King: his charisma, commanding vision and ability to inspire loyalty made him a worthy leader of the Knights of the Round Table. He inspired them with tales of the Holy Grail and urged in them the desire to search and find it. Arthur’s vision of what this treasure would do stirred great deeds in his Knights who set out on this quest time and again.
Arthur’s success in inspiring his team to great heights came from his willingness to focus on a number of crucial questions:
- What is our purpose as a team of knights? (This defines the quest and helps to define the vision for others to follow)
- What will this do for others, the world and us? (This inspires heroic action, because it seeks the meaning behind a quest or purpose)
- Who are we when we set out on this quest? (This clarifies the sense of identity that many find so inspirational. For our knights, this meant that they could express the hero within)
- What is important to us when we are on this quest? (This identifies the values that will guide the Knights as they move forward)
However, Arthur could not make this happen on his own. His natural inclination to focus on the big picture; on the vision and passion, meant that he found it difficult to bring his eye back to the more mundane pragmatic considerations of how to launch each quest (strategy) and manage the details of getting the knights onto their horses, motivated and clearly directed.
For that, he needed his Queen. And this is where Guinevere’s lesser-known story comes into its own.
Guinevere (for all her faults in the love arena) was an archetypal Queen. She was the commander who took charge of situations and focused on the pragmatic details it would take to fulfil each lofty quest the Knights undertook. She was the one who decided the approach, delegated authority and identified talents, all the while focussing on utilising constructive power to inspire action.
This role is the crucial counter point to that of King. It is the Queen who inspires action – the visible application of energy – to realise the vision clarified by the King.
Guinevere’s success at launching each quest came from her willingness to focus on more pragmatic questions:
- What do we need to do to fulfil this quest? (This enables the team to identify the strategy or approach to undertake a quest)
- How do we do it? (This clarifies the actions and processes that will make up an action plan)
- Who will do what? (This clarifies talents and allocates responsibility)
- How will we know we have been successful? (This clarifies the results to be achieved and allocates accountability)
The partnership of King and Queen enabled their Knights to set out on each quest armed with the crucial aspects of vision and action that are the parameters of any successful venture.
So are you Arthur or Guinevere?
On the professional side, if you are a manager, director or CEO, and your natural inclination is to the King role, then you need to find your Queen – the person who implement and inspire action. Of course, the same is true if you realise that your natural inclination is to the more pragmatic detail focus. Then you need to find the King who will inspire you and your team to greater heights.
On the personal side, your task is to create a King and Queen within you. Each time you set out on a quest or project, the first step is to put on the King’s crown and ask the vision questions identified above. Then, when you feel fully inspired and guided, your second step is to take up the crown of your Queen and plan the action.
And so it becomes clear that only when your relationship between your King and Queen has integrity will your quest be fulfilled.