What Are You Looking At?


vision4I was on a mission.  I knew what I was looking for and I was intently focused on the object of my attention.

To be more specific I was searching for the object of my affection.

Mounted upon my trusty steed I was moving at a speed in keeping with my exploratory expedition.  Knowing I was nearing the habitation of that for which I was searching, I endeavored to ensure my gaze was intent upon the discovery I was hoping for.

Unbeknownst to me, an unforeseen foe was lurking outside the parameters of my rapt attention.  To my utter and complete surprise I would soon discover the limitation and danger involved with being negligent in my willingness to be aware of the potential dangers that surrounded me.

My journey would end in complete failure.  I managed to escape with no lasting injuries.  The only real damage was done to my fragile ego – wounded, but not broken.

So what was my quest?  What was that for which I was searching?

Well, it was 1970.  I was 8 years of age, and I was on the lookout for someone very special to me at the time – Peggy Bailey.  She lived down the street from me.  She was in my class at school and she had caught my eye, and my heart.

My plan?

Well, I would ride down the street to her house on my 3-speed banana seat bike.  Then, when at the point where she could see me passing by on the street I would impress her beyond belief by riding with no hands.  That would surely catch her attention and secure a special place for me in her heart.

My plan was proceeding perfectly.  Everything was going just as I had envisioned… except for the parked car.  I was so intently focused on Peggy’s house that I neglected to look at the path I was on.  Sadly, and painfully for me, my path would lead me directly into the bumper of a rock solid, heavily chromed, late 60’s “boat” of a vehicle.

Shortly after taking my hands off the handle bars to execute the most important component of my plan, I slammed into the car.  I flew off my bike onto the hood, then rolled off onto the street.  Dazed and confused I didn’t bother to look back and see if Peggy had witnessed my calamity.  I grabbed my bike, hopped on, and rode home to lick my wounds.

There is a key leadership lesson for us all in this story of childhood adventure.

Leadership comes in all shapes and sizes.  There are many unique and varied leadership styles and abilities.  However, there is one thing that leadership of any form, at any level, must bring, and that’s vision.

A leader’s job is to move people from “here” to “there”.  Any leader must have a clear understanding of what their people’s “here” is, and they must be crystal clear on what their “there” is.  Where are we going?  How are we going to get there?

A leaders’ vision, their perspective, must be of the bigger picture.  A leader can’t get bogged down or lost in the small picture, in the minutia.  Leaders must be aware of the big picture at all times.  In my story about searching for Peggy Bailey, I clearly lost sight of the bigger picture – and it cost me.

Have you lost sight of the bigger picture?  Has your perspective become too limited?

White Spot is a restaurant chain in British Columbia.  Their drive-through locations are called “Triple O’s”.  There are 3 things a leader must be aware of that I call the Triple Os of Vision.  A leader must be aware of Obstacles, Opposition and Opportunity.

If you’re not aware of what can hinder or stop you, what is actively working against you, and what your potential is, then you may very well be leading your organization into a parked car of sorts.  Leaders must see the bigger picture, we must be aware of the obstacles, opposition and opportunities we face in order to lead our people from “here” to “there” well.

So, what are you looking at?

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Leading and Living on Purpose.