Leadership: The Value of Two Perspectives to Enrich the Picture

On a brief holiday trip, I decided to let the dog off-leash because I thought he would stay with me. (In the year ahead, I’ll be writing more about effective decision making. This was an example of a bad one.)

All was well until a tree-dwelling, grey squirrel made landfall setting the dog into motion that continued long past the squirrel’s escape. It involved three different neighbors’ yards along with a plunge into the river to chase ducks. My family member saw a beautiful, white dog with fur flowing:  “a pure expression of freedom” as she later put it. As the person trying to catch him, I can assure you that was not my experience.

Yet both perspectives were true. Each enriched the picture.

One perspective was narrower as it had to be—focused on immediate, urgent action. The other was broader. It could take in both the danger and the beauty. Many years ago I read that co-pilots on space flights were the ones most likely to have life-changing epiphanies. They could observe differently than the pilot who had the greater responsibility.

Who is enriching your perspective when there is a critical situation you’re on the hook to resolve quickly?

Is it your VP or COO? A significant other or mentor? I do this for many leaders, and am grateful to those I rely upon to do this for me. What I’ve observed is that it’s best if the person understands the gravity, and cares but not too much. Make sure you have these people in your leadership life so you don’t miss the broader perspective. And one more thing… stay fit—it comes in handy when you’ve got to run fast.

Thank you for the opportunity to offer you new perspectives this year. Wish you and your company an exciting, prosperous and healthy year ahead!

U.S. Library of Congress ISSN 2164-7240

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