By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you factor your frame of reference in problem solving. Reading time: 2:44.
“Old enough to know better,” she would say to dismiss the subject. Or she would joke: “So old that my back goes out more often than I do.”
But then one day the wily little 60-month old seemed to get the best of my 60-year-old friend.
“Grandma, I know how old you are.” “You do,” her grandma wondered?
“Yes it’s right here,” the little girl said as she spilled the contents of her grandma’s purse. And out flipped her grandma’s driver’s license on the floor.
“I see your birth date right there,” the precocious little girl said pointing to the grandma’s driver’s license. “And grandma , I see that you were not a very good student, no, no,no.”
“I wasn’t,” the grandma asked?
“No, no, no. See you got an F.”
“An F,” the grandmother exclaimed!
“Yes look at that F….in SEX.”
They both laughed. That scenario showcases the critical insight that every leader faces: defining reality.
You always hear that old bromide that perception is more important than reality. But I wonder how many leaders really take the time to look at problems from other points of view? Indeed, where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit:
If you are pursuing a Great White Whale, you will see white as bleakly as did author Herman Melville “not a color but the absence of all colors—a dumb blankness.”
Nails Holding the Boats Together
Were More Valuable Than the Boats
If you were Hawaiian natives in the 1700s and you eyed British explorer John Cook’s boats, you were not looking for transportation. You saw those boats as so many fish hooks. The nails that kept the boat together were more valuable to the natives than the boat itself. After all, those natives lived thousands of miles away from the iron mills that produced fish hooks among other tools.
If you were sitting in a jungle, you would have laughed at anyone who told you that fire was deadly—even Albert Schweitzer. The natives slept with fires in their huts to ward off the mosquitoes. High humidity kept fires from spreading.
Next time you are developing strategic direction and/or policy, step into the shoes of your followers. See the “facts” as they do. To the 5-year-0ld the “facts” of her grandma’s birth date and sex were clear and their meaning evident. At least to her POV –Point of View.
Beware and Be more aware. Step up. Step into someone else shoes before you step in it, before you fail in defining reality for others’ POV and end up with an “F”—in leadership.
Be aware of other points of view to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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