Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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Take off your blinders.

Blinders are used to reduce a horses peripheral vision from 180 degrees to 30 degrees.By wearing blinders horses remain focused on what’s in front of them and eliminates any distractions that come from beside or behind them.

Far too many leaders and teams wear blinders in a similar fashion. They are hyper-focused on what is directly in front of them and are blind to events and activities beyond the narrow confines of the immediate and urgent issues of the day. When you remove blinders you’ll experience the following three benefits.

1. Increased insight. Without peripheral vision teams and leaders are incapable of seeing what’s taking place around them. They believe that having their nose to the grindstone and being hyper-focused on what’s in front of them is practical. However, without the insight that stems from new perspectives it’s easy to convince one another that working hard equals doing valuable work. That’s not true. Without new insights about your customer, your processes and your business impact, your results are based on a limited perspective and sample size.

2. Increased enthusiasm. When you expand your perspective from what’s directly in front of you to what’s taking place all around you, alternatives and possibilities that were previously hidden from your view come into focus. New perspectives which provide new possibilities, ignite in teams the power of greater choice, a greater sense of control and an enthusiasm for experimenting to accomplish something that will be important. Without enthusiasm you are destined to do ordinary work with ordinary results.

3. Increased confidence. Far too many teams are unaware of how valuable they are to their organization. They lack the real world confidence about their contribution to making a customers life easier or better. Without confidence, the work that takes place is filled with uncertainty and trepidation, both of which are anathema to growing a department of business.

What should you do? I have three suggestions:

1. Earmark people on your team to explore the current boundaries of your work. Ask them to bring new information and insights to the team so as to plan for new products, services or heightened customer satisfaction.

2. Based on your insight from number one, ask which alternative is most compelling not only to your customers, but for your team also. Which one does your team have real enthusiasm for deploying? Go do that one.

3. Building confidence comes in two forms. The first is hearing from customers just how valuable your work is. To that end, you can do a brand audit. A guide for doing this audit can be downloaded here. The second is to develop new skills. Determine one new skill set for your team and devote ninety days to learning it. Once a new skill has been learned a teams confidence increases.

Which of the three suggestions is best for you and your team?