Why Didn’t I Know That Was Coming?

| January 14, 2017 | 1 Comment

Winter in Colorado can be a challenge, especially for our cars and more specifically for our car’s windshield. As we maneuver around potholes and ice patches we try our best to stay as far away asthWMIUL7DA possible from construction trucks – Colorado is building at unprecedented rates. The problem of course is what flies off of those behemoth vehicles – rocks. Rocks which have an uncanny way of finding windshields.

I was feeling pretty darn proud and confident with my ability to dodge all of these dangerous road elements. Until it happened. My windshield had a very long crack. This can’t be, this is not possible! There was no tell-tale chip from an errant rock. What the heck? Whenever I have a chip on my windshield I make a bee-line to the auto glass fix-it place. I am diligent regarding this responsibility. I just didn’t get it. I called the “We’ll come to you” auto glass fix it folks. As I stood next to my hurt car (yes I do have a personal relationship with my car) I ranted about how this long crack could suddenly appear. With the patience of Job, the young man waited for me to wear myself out and then pointed out the reason. “Here is where the rock hit your windshield. In the black area that houses a number of electrical components. You were just looking from the inside. You have to look from the outside too. You didn’t see what was coming, because you just looked from one angle.” I laughed and asked if he considered becoming a management consultant.

As leaders of companies and organizations how often are we surprised? A valued employee decides to leave the company, a client chooses a different vendor, a previously productive team begins missing deliverables, market share declines. More than likely early signs were there, we just didn’t see them. Issues that could have been addressed early on, were left unnoticed and eventually turned into a real problem. It’s not that we weren’t willing to respond to the situation. We just weren’t aware. We were looking at our world from the same direction that we always look .

In the next few weeks as we shovel through the first month of 2017 consider placing yourself, or your view, in multiple vantage points. Here are a few possibilities:
 Stop by and attend some of your staff meeting’s. As a guest, a listener, not as the boss.
 Pick up the phone and check in on a client.
 Change up the hours you normally spend at your business and have a conversation with the 2nd or 3rd shift.
 Spend some time in the kitchen/lunch room, not to snatch a quick cup of coffee, but to run into folks with whom you don’t normally have a conversation.
 Walk around – better yet, walk around with a guest and introduce them to some of your team. Ask the staff person to explain what they do.

Think about how you gain information. If it has always been through the weekly dashboard or a very select group of people and those are the only ways, you might want to consider some different vantage points.

May you catch the chips early. Take care, Julia

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Category: Leadership, Newsletters, Transitional Agility

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About the Author ()

Julia Hill-Nichols, SPHR, is the founder of LeadersCove, LLC. With over 30 years experience in operations and human capital management, Julia is gifted in the art and science of bridging strategic imperatives and a company’s human capabilities—executing for success, meeting bottom-line objectives and enlivening the people who are the organization’s lifeblood.

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  1. Ron Marquez says:

    Excellent article! It is easy to stay the course and forget to look at things from a different angle or through other’s eyes!

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