— December 5, 2017
I have to admit, I think I know a good bit about many things — particularly in my area of business.
That statement and thought has just made me vulnerable to improvement and greater success.
And, because I am confident in my ability and have proven to be able to work through challenges and come out successful on the other side — that record of success – can also be a liability.
Here’s an example. Most recently, I have been trying to sell my house and have been getting help from my significant other, who happens to be an expert in this area. It’s created conflict – a lot. He’s given advice that’s annoying, I couldn’t see, didn’t make sense. He’d get frustrated because I “wasn’t listening” and I’d get frustrated because I couldn’t “see” what he tried to explain (which was due to my lack of experience).
There have been many opportunities for improved communication and suffice it to say, for 2 accomplished professionals, one of which human dynamics is a professional specialty, it’s been an interesting learning experience.
In the midst of all this, I recently had an ah-ha moment. My experience with my house and close personal advisor is the same for many business owners and accomplished leaders.
A certain level of success can cause blind spots.
It can cause one to be unreceptive to tools, information or resources to achieve greater success. As Jim Collins says in his widely read book, Good to Great, “Good is the enemy of great.”
And with success, can come blindness to small vulnerabilities that can become major impediments and that if attended to early, could mitigate potential damage – like a tiny leak in a damn.
Blind spots also impair our hearing. It causes us to turn a deaf ear to important or useful advice to which thoughtful consideration should be given. We in fact discount it, not believing the value or truth of it (at least that’s what I did).
An advisor can say, “Hey I see a leak in your dam.” You say, “I don’t have a leak, I don’t see a leak or that’s not a leak. And anyway, if we had a leak, we would not be doing as well as we are.”
But clearly, to everyone else…there’s a leak.
This blind spot issue is another reason why 360 feedback surveys have become so popular in leadership coaching. The point of it is to help the coachee see what others are seeing that they are not. And, the value of multiple participants is if there is consensus, at some level, it must be true. So even though I don’t see it, it probably should be given some consideration.
In my latest executive briefing Show Me The Money!, I share an uncommon perspective of quantitating employee performance in a way that can assist in more profitably managing the “human” resource in conjuction with all other areas of operations. The briefing (really a white paper on steroids that turned into a book) shares what I see, that most leaders don’t that is costing them.
In fact, (in almost every case) I can sit with any leader, go through a few simple exercises and find money. My experience has afforded me the opportunity to gain a refined point of view regarding human resource management. That experience helps me quickly identify areas that are costing a company, along with areas that can be rapidly improved.
In the house selling saga, I’ve had to surrender to what I don’t know and can’t see, while trusting the expertise of another. And yes, I’ve had to admit on several occasions, “You were right.” as I was thinking to myself, “Ghez, for such a smart person, I’m amazed I didn’t see that.”
As accomplished business leaders, to continually lead effectively and grow our businesses, we must hold this wisdom in our consciousness — success can undermine success.
It’s this non-negotiable mindset of a leader that will allow them to be at his/her best at all times which then serves the greater good of their company. It will keep them open to vulnerabilities and resources for growth that initially would not be considered.