I ride a motorcycle. As a biker, I understand the concept of “look where you want the bike to go”. Because your body movements influence the direction of a motorcycle, it is important to be aware of your posture so you do not lead the vehicle astray. The same can be said in leadership. If you focus your gaze on the negative alone, you will lead your stakeholders there. The key in both motorcycle riding and leadership is to constantly scan for hazards, but not lock your gaze on a single risk.
Near Miss Example – on the Bike
While riding with a more experienced biker, I tried to keep up. In unfamiliar terrain, I watched as my companion raced nearly out of sight. In an attempt to catch up, I found myself taking a turn too fast. The cement lane divider approached rapidly as my bike drifted closer from centrifugal forced. In fear for my life, my gaze locked on the divider and I came closer and closer to the divider. Fortunately, I realized my attention was not on where I wanted the bike to go or how to right the situation. This realization came just in time. I recall being within inches of the divider before safely emerging from the bend.
Near Miss Example – in Business
While working for a particularly challenging manager, I found myself frustrated by an inability to please the boss. Sleepless nights were spent worrying about my future and what I could do to turn things around. Until a conversation with my mentor changed my perspective. He simply said to me, “so what are you going to do about it?” Seems obvious, I know. But in the moment, I had tunnel vision on the bad. I was staying in the depression of the situation rather than seeking the path out. From then, I set myself to look at where I wanted to go: success and new leadership. I re-framed my perspective of success – what I was proud of and what I felt brought glory to God. I also set about on a job search for an organization in which I could bring greater value. Ultimately, I think I emerged from that bend within inches of the divider as well.
So where is your gaze focused? Are you locked onto the negative you fear or are you scanning the horizon for possibilities? Wherever you look – that is where you will lead the organization. Keep looking for negatives to avoid and positives to steer toward.
Question: What was your near miss that you avoided by looking elsewhere?