Do you remember that time you were sure you had a clear understanding or view of what was happening and then you realized you didn’t?
I was at the eye doctor recently for my routine annual checkup. I told the doctor that I was okay with the prescription I had from last year. I saw no need to get a new prescription because I could see perfectly with my current script. She set me up on the machine looking through the lens to see the chart on the wall. It was fuzzy at first, but after a few adjustments, I could see crystal clear. I could see so well, as a matter of fact, I was reading the 20/15 line. As I said, I didn’t need a new script.
Before she let me out of the chair, she confirmed again that I could see clearly with the setting she used. Then she adjusted the machine and asked how well I could see. I told her I couldn’t see anything. She chuckled and told me she was changing my script. When I inquired why, she said to me that the fuzzy chart I saw last was the result of my current script. The clear version was an adjustment to my contacts.
As leaders, we settle into our roles and think that we have a clear view of what is happening. We know the people who work with us, we know what is going on, and we see our own strengths and weaknesses and how to compensate. Only, we sometimes don’t realize that we’re looking through an old prescription.
We don’t have a doctor down the street where we can get an exam and a new script to fix it though. So, how do we recognize that we don’t see clearly, and how do we improve our vision?
Ask clarifying questions. Ask those people around you who you know will tell you the truth specific questions to confirm whether you see what you think you see. What you see clearly may one be what you’re used to seeing.
Look with fresh eyes. You and your team see the same people, same programs, same operations, and same facilities every day. Bring in an outsider you trust to examine what you’re doing. They don’t have to know anything about your field of operating to discover inefficiencies, safety hazards, or cost-saving opportunities.
Be willing to change. One of the worst positions you can put yourself in is one where you aren’t willing to move. We’ve all experienced those people who are always right, always know exactly how something needs to be done, always has the answer. Maybe that person is you. Don’t dig in and hold your position because that’s the identity you’ve developed for yourself or because you don’t like change. The people around you, the people who follow you, and the people who observe you will see your wisdom of adaptation from the introduction of new information.
Question: What happened to make you realize you weren’t seeing as clearly as you once did? You can leave a comment by clicking here.