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Leaders, check your blindspots

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Have you ever gone to switch lanes only to nearly clip another vehicle because you didn’t see it? You checked your mirrors, you turned your head left and right, but somehow missed the Honda creeping up on your right.

Darn blindspot!

Every car has one, a place where the driver of the vehicle cannot see clearly the full context and surroundings in which he or she is driving. And here’s the thing, the bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot.

The same can be said for leaders and organizations.

Here’s a question for you. Do you know where your blindspots are within your organization? It takes guts and vulnerability to intentionally check your blindspots—because as the leader, you have to admit you can’t see something clearly. That you need help. And this is where many leaders fail.

Asking for help.
In my day job as the director of strategy of a brand experience firm, I was reminded of this lesson recently. This time, positively reminded.

One of our clients, the CEO of a popular and growing consumer brand in Southern California, did what few leaders do—he asked for help.

He is looking to take a growing business and accelerate the scale of its expansion. In order to do that, he has realized that he needs to start doing certain things and stop doing other things. He brought in help from many different angles, including our team, in an effort to check his blind spots and help his organization grow.

This leader also did something commendable, in a public meeting of his entire leadership team, he admitted his need for help and stated that if they are going to be successful, that they need to change and that it starts with him. He did this in an effort to encourage his leaders to embrace a similar posture, but also as a step of wise accountability. He asked his team to help him see what he cannot see from the driver’s seat. He asked for honesty.

I walked up to him after that meeting and encouraged him directly. I acknowledged what I had just witnessed and told him to keep it up. Leading with a limp is inspiring and it’s wise. It engenders loyalty and confidence and invites perspectives and insight that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. It will make you a better leader. It will position you for success.

A fruitful and counter-intuitive approach
Human nature and insecurity will lie to you. It will whisper in your ear and say, you have to have the answers. You’re the driver! The ideas need to originate with you. You’ll lose people’s respect if you don’t have command of all the issues and have all the answers. You need control.

The opposite is actually true. You will create a strong team, garner more respect and have a better command of all the issues because you’re depending on and empowering a team of others.

You’ll see clearly no matter what size you grow to and your neck won’t hurt nearly as much!

Of First Importance

2015 is a new year, and as cliche as it sounds, a new chapter in my life and the life of my family.

As I write this, my wife and I are awaiting our second child. She was due 2 days ago, so when I say we’re awaiting I mean we’re on the edge of our seats.

I believe this year is a new chapter professionally as well, not sure what’s to come — but I’m ready to step forward in new ways. Writing and sharing thoughts on brand strategy, leadership, and the little things I notice in this life I’ve been given, are a part of that next chapter.

So before I begin adding my 2 cents in this space, I thought I would remind myself that good thinking is a gift and that God helps me in all that I do.

First things first:

If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks. If God doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap. It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?” -Psalm 127:1-2


If you reason with an arrogant cynic, you’ll get slapped in the face; confront bad behavior and get a kick in the shins. So don’t waste your time on a scoffer; all you’ll get for your pains is abuse. But if you correct those who care about life, that’s different—they’ll love you for it! Save your breath for the wise—they’ll be wiser for it; tell good people what you know—they’ll profit from it. Skilled living gets its start in the Fear-of-Godinsight into life from knowing a Holy God. It’s through me, Lady Wisdom, that your life deepens, and the years of your life ripen. Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life; mock life and life will mock you.”  -Proverbs 9:7-12


“Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.” -Mark 12:29-31