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Why owners have 360˚ vision – and others don’t
September 2, 2013 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment
Call it a blessing or a curse that owners can walk into their companies and instantaneously – like some futuristic omnidirectional science probe – identify a hit list of issues that need fixing NOW. They see items where they shouldn’t be, employees doing what they shouldn’t be doing, clients waiting for attention, and dirt that is clearly invisible to everyone else’s eyes but their own. While some owners truly believe that they possess supernatural 360˚ vision, most simply wish that others could see obvious issues and take action without being told.
There is a deep emotional component to 360˚ vision that is both good and bad. From a pride, quality, and leadership standpoint, it just makes sense that owners pay more attention to the details. The process keeps everyone awake and engaged while maintaining a healthy sense of urgency. But when 360˚ vision begins to feed obsessive-compulsive behavior, things can get ugly. It’s no longer about instilling pride and quality thinking and behavior; it’s about looking for everything that’s wrong. It’s about catching people doing something wrong, and that’s not leadership.
Here are some no-compromise thoughts to instill a healthy 360˚ vision throughout your culture:
- You’re not Superman: Just so we’re clear, you do not have X-ray vision and you cannot leap tall buildings in a single bound. It’s your company. You care. You’re invested financially, emotionally, and professionally. There is a sense of pride in doing it right and being on your game – and you are intent on winning. Of course you see things that others don’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t coach, train, and mentor others to see what you see. Leadership is about growing a company by coaching others to achieve their full potential. Everyone takes the voyage together. Everyone grows together. Leaders lead the way.
- Resentment sucks: As a business coach, too often I see leaders become resentful toward their employees for not seeing obvious issues and taking action. Resentment sucks the life out of a company, its people, and its culture. It’s simply impossible for a company to deliver extraordinary customer experiences when bitterness is present at the leadership level. Here’s a full dose of no-compromise leadership thinking: The moment feelings of resentment surface, it’s time to look in the mirror and own it because you allowed it to occur through your own inaction. Leaders lead; they don’t blame. No compromise.
- Natural and acquired: Let’s face it, some people have great peripheral vision and others don’t. Watching a floor manager multi-task, direct, and solve problems on the fly is a beautiful thing. Stick that same manager behind a desk to write a report or work on a project and he or she will go crazy trying to focus. Natural strengths are gifts that thrive on opportunity. Acquired skills are the result of training and coaching. Hint: your best investment is to focus on developing and expanding natural strengths. Put your people with 360˚ vision in the right positions. Put your people with natural strengths to focus on the details in positions where they can thrive and contribute. Yes, you can coach the 360˚s to focus and the focusers to see more, but the growth will be incremental. That’s OK.
- Empowerment still rocks: The last thing I want to do in my own company is to pay attention to everything. It’s exhausting and I’m miserable when in those situations. I’m also less effective, less productive, less inspiring, and get more frustrated by the minute. I am fully capable of 360˚ vision because I’ve done it … and I refuse to ever do it again. When leaders get stuck in 360˚ mode, they actually de-power and suffocate those they lead. I thrive in the vision and empowerment role and my company thrives and grows in the process. Give me four people with solid 90˚ vision that are focusing on their key strengths and areas of responsibility and, together, we’ll grow a company that will kick the 360˚ leader’s butt. Leadership is about empowerment.
Hey, it’s Labor Day … turn your business brain off and go enjoy your day with family and friends.
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