Recently, I was in a beautiful lobby surrounded by glass. From the center, you could peer through walls of glass into the restaurant, spa, and gift shop. Every door was made of glass, too! Concerned about walking into a glass wall, I quickly adopted the habit of spotting the silver handles and following the directions on the small circular labels below indicating Push or Pull.
Unfortunately, this prevented me from seeing any doors already open! At one point, I accidentally opened one of these huge doors rather than walking through an open door just three feet to my left– offering great amusement to my friends! This experience brought to mind the following reminders:
- Don’t make things harder than they are: At first, this seems so obvious. But, have you ever noticed how easy it is to get away from the “simple and direct”? Important and valuable work is not always designated by complexity.
- Small details hide the big picture: A focus on minutiae or on doing things correctly (like pushing or pulling a door) blurs the master plan. I recommend regular reviews of strategic direction or at least a weekly confirmation of high-level goals.
- Plan before you make a move: Quick action is often rewarded, yet smart action is far more meaningful. Thinking before you act can be as easy as outlining a lengthy message or writing a prioritized to-do list. A small investment of time saves a large amount of time.
- Let others go first: I find myself always in the lead, even when I don’t know where I’m going. This is natural for leaders. However, sometimes others DO know where to go and it is time to follow. Lead only when no one knows how to get there or when you are the only one that does.
- It’s OK to laugh at yourself: You may remember from my article What Are Your True Colors?, that I am learning to do this. Frankly, it was a relief to just have a little fun, even at my own expense! The laughter felt good and was a great way to reinforce connection with those around me. (Plus, you KNOW I would have been laughing if it happened to someone else!)
To walk through the open door, you must see it, first—which means you are always looking for one. Of course, you may only find little silver handles, which is fine, as long as you read the instructions. Remember, things can be easy, a little planning goes a long way, sometimes a leader should follow, and it’s healthy to laugh at your foibles.
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman, an Executive Business Consultant with Leading Synergies, helps high-performing executives refine strategy, inspire teams, and delight clients (specializing in information technology, project management, consulting, and franchise management). She also leads Synergy Groups, weekly 55-minute case study conference calls for REALLY BUSY Christians in leadership. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 20 years.|