Have you ever heard of the Yule Goat? It dates back many centuries to the Pagan festivals. At this time the last sheaf of grain from the harvest season was bundled up and saved for Yule. This was done because the last sheaf was credited with magical properties. At the midwinter Yule festival, which was between November and January, the harvest god, Devac, was depicted as a white goat. Many centuries later when the Pagan and Christian traditions blended, the goat became a symbol of Christmas in Scandinavia and Northern Europe.

In Gavle (pronounced yeah-vleh), Sweden they have a tradition that started in 1966, of erecting a HUGE Yule Goat. This is a massive goat statue made of straw. It is 42’ tall, weighs 3.6 tons, and takes at least a truckload of straw to build. At its core is a frame of wood or metal with 5500 feet of rope. This sounds cool, however, since its inception there have been those who try to destroy the goat each year. For the last 50 years the goat has been attacked at least 35 times and completely destroyed many of those. It has been burned, knocked over by cars, attempted helicopter goat napping, and other creative, yet destructive attempts. For many years people have been discouraging the building of the goat, but yet it continues.

As a leader, you may not be building a huge goat statue out of flammable straw, but you might have ideas that others don’t understand. Perhaps some of your ideas are discouraged by others. A major responsibility of a great leader is to… well, lead. However, listening to others, paying attention to how others receive your ideas, and ultimately being willing to change course if a solid argument is made against your plan are also responsibilities of a great leader. The enormous Yule Goat in Gavle, Sweden may not be a bad idea, but being willing to hear what others say is definitely a GOOD idea!