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Leadership



Executive Blind Spots
By Michael Beck
May 17, 2012 - 3:23:13 PM

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We all have patterns, habits, and beliefs that limit us. The challenge is that we generally can't see how those thought-patterns and beliefs hold us back and what we can't see tends to sabotage our efforts.

Blind spots can severely impact an executive's strategic vision, their course of action, and their rate of success. They impact decision-making and creativity (or lack thereof) in solving problems and they act to limit the strategic initiatives we are willing to consider. They even affect how we relate to others - hampering our leadership effectiveness, our political adeptness, and our executive presence.

It doesn't matter what our experience in life or in business has been, what our background is, our age, level of education, or intelligence. We're all subject to blind spots. Executives, like everyone else, acquire blind spots from life, but as leaders, they suffer additional blind spots caused by their need to operate within the corporate environment.

Blind spots show up in our beliefs, our thoughts, and our actions. These beliefs are self-limiting and are often at odds with the goals we say we want to achieve. Our beliefs are formed - good or bad, limiting or expansive - as we develop from children into adulthood. We formulate these beliefs from the stories we invent as we seek to explain events. Unfortunately, we view these events through the lens of immaturity and without having all the facts. These flawed stories act to limit us and sometimes even come to define us. The key to moving past these limiting beliefs is to replace them with beliefs formed from fresh perspectives.

When it comes to our thoughts, the same thinking that got us where we are can't take us further. If we keep thinking in the same way, we'll keep coming up with the same kinds of solutions. Our thinking becomes stagnant without outside stimulation. The only way to expand one's thinking is to seek out new perspectives, which of course, come from reading and seeking outside input.

When we get attached to the process of how we imagine success will be attained we become blind to other possibilities. And when that happens, we're like a fly incessantly beating its wings against a pane of glass trying to reach its goal. It doesn't matter how hard we try if we're pursuing success in the wrong way. When we're not willing to consider other courses of action, we limit our success. How does one distinguish between dogged determination and blindness? It usually requires input from an outside, unbiased source.

Blind spots within the corporate world arise from two sources. The first source is corporate culture - corporate culture in a general sense as well as the specific "culture" of an organization. We hold beliefs about how organizations should function, how they should be structured, and which behaviors are valued. Every organization has its own special culture - either by design or by default. And while a corporate culture can be an asset, it often acts to create blind spots with executives. The second source of executive blind spots arising from the corporate world stems from the need of leaders to achieve productivity through others. As executives, we run the risk of our thoughts and beliefs being influenced by the thoughts and beliefs of the people under our guidance.

Breaking free of limiting thoughts and beliefs is essential for achieving the results we want, however, there are some inherent challenges in releasing blind spots. Many blind spots are so deeply ingrained within our make-up, we're no longer aware they control us. Without outside perspective, these beliefs appear to be truths. It's important to keep in mind that generally these limiting beliefs are YOUR truths rather than THE truth.

It is critical that we identify and release the self-limiting blind spots which hold us back if real progress is to be made. To that end, it requires outside perspective and input from someone who can point out what we can't see for ourselves.

Written by Michael Beck, Executive Coach and Strategist. For more articles on executive success, leadership, personal effectiveness and personal productivity, please visit www.michaeljbeck.com. Permission to reprint with full attribution. © 2011 Michael Beck International, Inc.

 

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