Blind spots can make us losers
Randy, procurement manager for a food brokerage company in Washington, told Session 3 of the Leadership Development Lab:
"Ten years ago, a group of friends from work and I decided we wanted to climb Mt. St. Helens. I started preparing by going to the gym every other day and working out aerobically. I worked hard at it, and was very disciplined and consistent. On the day of our climb, just before we started the ascent, as we were getting ready to start our climb, everyone else was stretching and warming up. As I was watching, I pulled out a cigarette and lit up. An hour or so later, partway into our climb, we took a break. I lit up another cigarette. Soon I was asking for another break. I was out of breath. At the next rest break, one of our group said, 'If we have to keep taking these breaks, we might not have time to make it to the top of the mountain.' Not wanting to hold up the group, I told them to go on ahead and I would finish the climb to the top by myself. They went on and I followed. Eventually I made it to the top by myself. I caught up with my friends back at the base camp. I felt good about finishing the climb, but I really missed the comradeship of my associates. I especially missed the exhilaration of celebrating success with the team at the top. At some level I knew that if I was going to successfully climb Mt. St. Helens, I was going to need to quit smoking! Nicotine is an enslaving habit, and I was in denial. Denial blinds us to the feedback we need to improve our
performance. As leaders, if we aren't able to accept and act on the feedback we receive, we can end up being the emperor with no clothes. I've already learned in the past couple of weeks how important it is for me to take a closer look at what I believe compared to the truth, and even what I know compared to the truth.
The lesson I learned from this experience is that I need to prepare and focus on my tasks. Going to the gym to work out was good, but that was only half of the plan that I needed to implement. I have learned that I must listen, really listen, to all the feedback I see, hear and feel. The action I call you to take is to take the time to fully prepare for the challenges you face and all the goals you set. Listen to all the feedback so you will be able to work on the areas that need the most attention, the most improvement. The benefits you will gain by fully preparing is that you will be able to conquer all your mountains, hit your goals, and know the joy of success in all the important areas of your life."