I found this an unusually brief (!) and insightful commentary on the current demands upon leaders to be effective in today’s world.
Two weeks ago I had the privilege of spending a few days with many of my LMI colleagues from around the world at our annual convention in Florence. Our flight from London went into Pisa so, having never set foot in Italy before, it would have been rude not to stop and have a look around. As every good tourist does in that small-ish Italian town, we headed in what seemed like the direction of that world-famous wonky tower.
You can’t see the tower from miles away so it came as quite a shock when we rounded a corner and there it was, leaning away, just like in the pictures. Having seen it’s picture dozens of times, I was still amazed, when confronted with it in real life, at just how much it leans. It’s impressive!
Something I then found very interesting. The closer I got to it, the less obvious it’s lean became. It’s basic physics I know, but these things make an impact when you experience them first hand. Close up, it could almost be straight. Start walking away and look back, it’s lean becomes stark once again.
Lots in our lives and our businesses can be like this. We get so involved, so consumed by the the day-to-day demands, so ‘close’ to all that’s going on, we don’t notice how wonky it is.
When I look at the pictures I’m reminded to step back and notice where things may have become a little wonky.
Am I working too many hours & have lost balance?
Have I stopped being so careful about prioritising my work?
Are my goals a little out of focus?
Has our passion for great customer service dropped off a little?
Whatever ‘stepping back’ means for you at the moment, it’s well worth doing. And when you notice something’s wonky, get help to fix it (unless it’s so extraordinary that you can get rich off people coming to see it)!
I was at a client’s premises today and looking out of the reception area I could see around 20 different staff cars parked just outside. Here’s the thing that struck me in the few minutes I had to myself before the start of the course I was running – there weren’t any two cars the same. There were two Vauxhalls and two BMWs and I think two Hondas, and then, of the others I remember, a Kia, a Nissan, a Ford, a Hyundai and a Jag…..O yes, and a Citroen, an Audi and a few others.
As someone currently looking at getting a new car sometime soon, I’m up-to-date with the WhatCar.com list of best cars in each category but…and here’s my big question… why doesn’t everyone just buy the ‘best’ car in the category that they are looking for?
Why aren’t there just a couple of choices of car for each shape, size, level of performance etc?
It reminded me that people are phenomenally unique and complex and make their own choices for a whole myriad of different reasons. We don’t just make the obvious, sensible decisions. We have taste, preference, individual personality, style and motivating factors.
Anyone involved with people (which I’m guessing includes you, just as it does me!) needs to be aware of this and interact with people accordingly. There’s no shortcut – it takes time to develop relationships, get to know people and understand them if you want to optimise performance and maximise peoples’ potential. More importantly though, it’s a good, friendly and ethical way to treat people. Both your life and theirs are the better for it.