As a leader, have you ever felt like a racecar driver heading into the last lap of a Grand Prix race? Everything’s happening at breakneck speed and even the slightest miscalculation in your performance can have disastrous results.
A Grand Prix only lasts a weekend. But, as an executive, you live in a high pressure, fast-paced environment all the time. You have proven your ability to read the landscape, recognize the best opportunities, and then reposition quickly enough to deliver amazing results. You’ve matched your uncanny ability to perform under pressure with your dedication to work. It’s no surprise you’re a high achiever. You may often have as much at stake as a Grand Prix driver in their last lap.
When leaders like you are operating in the fast lane, it’s easy to miss checking your “blind spots”. Like the champion driver hurtling down the track at speeds of up to 220mph, your attention is focused on what’s happening in front of you and in your vehicle. But what’s happening in your blind spots can knock you out of the race.
BLIND SPOTS @ WORK
Blind spots in business can be opportunities in disguise
Think of blind spots as the things we leaders take for granted and tend to overlook. But when we do slow down and look at them, they help us see what can be getting in the way of championship performance.
I was talking recently with an executive about what was happening after he got promoted to a very senior level in his organization. The last time we talked, he was focused on proving himself in the new role quickly, and so he operated in the same way he always had in a new job. Soon he was overwhelmed and couldn’t keep up with the work. That, combined with changing regulations in his industry, and he was having a lot of sleepless nights.
This often happens with high achievers at some point in their careers. Our blind spots eventually get in the way when we move to increased levels of responsibility. They stand between us and our best performance.
MASTERING BLIND SPOTS
I’ve seen the benefits that happen when a senior executive takes the time to deal with their blind spots. They end up having a much more powerful impact with a lot less effort.
So I’ve prepared three short audio messages about blind spots based on what I’ve learned while coaching senior executives. Each four-minute message (free mp3 download) covers typical behaviors executives demonstrate and some of the challenges they experience before they become aware of what they cannot see.
Audio #1. BEING OVERWHELMED: The Super-Busy Trap
You work more. You work harder. You work longer. Leadership is about the results you produce. So you’re proud of being so busy. But you’re being overwhelmed by what you have to deal with in the fast lane.
Audio #2. LEADING POWERFULLY: The Hidden Need for Approval
A key competency of successful leaders is being able to collaborate with all the people you work with. Yet at the senior executive levels, this way of operating can have an unintended (and potentially hazardous) impact on your leadership and career.
Audio #3. STEPPING UP: The End of Your Winning Formula
You are already known for winning. But when you step up to a more senior executive level, you may find that winning doesn’t happen as frequently or as easily. Now is the time to look at your “winning formula” to see if it’s really Formula 1 material.
The key to championship performance at high speed lies in our ability to slow down and observe what we’re doing.
Taking the time to look at what might be preventing us from consistently winning the race is worthwhile. When we do this, we are no longer limited by what isn’t effective in our new situation. Mastering our blind spots gives us the possibility of delivering extraordinary results—with ease.