#Blind Spot Ahead – Dangerous!
Last week while out of town on business I had the opportunity to visit a large nonprofit that is a potential client. I was invited to be a “fly on the wall” in their executive team meeting for about 90 minutes to just observe and get a feel for their culture.
As the meeting progressed it became more and more evident one of the executive team members, “Pat,” had a significant blind spot. She appeared to be oblivious to her own limitations around several issues that are greatly affecting her role as a PR/fundraiser person. Pat appeared to be a very nice person who cared deeply about the organization, and I got the sense that the rest of the team saw her the same way. But…I could also feel the negative vibes in the room and see the negative body language when her issues came to the surface in the meeting.
Pat’s blind spot is preventing her from seeing her own limitations, or it’s quite likely that she is aware and is in denial and fear is keeping her from being vulnerable.
It reminded me of the time I test drove a car some years ago. As we left the parking lot and headed out on the road I could tell that something just wasn’t right with this car. When we returned to the car lot I discovered that the parking brake was partially set. Fortunately, I didn’t ruin the brakes, but the entire time I was driving the car it didn’t accelerate, cruise, handle or perform the way that it should. Here’s why it reminded me of this situation:
- Half speed. The executive team just can’t move at full speed when someone has their proverbial parking break partially set. They’re covering for Pat’s limitations. Even though she cares and may be a nice person, she’s literally dragging them down. This issue is always on their minds and keeps them from gaining any type of real momentum.
- Time suck. They’re spending an enormous amount of time and energy trying to do their jobs and “prop her up” in the meantime. The corporate structure and politics of the organization won’t allow the executive team to remove her from that position.
- Others in the organization are aware that the leadership is impaired and can’t rid itself of Pat. This is a culture issue that the board of directors needs to own if they’re serious about really leading the organization.
- This is now negatively affecting morale, respect for leadership, productivity, quality, pride in the organization, and other issues that policy and procedure just can’t fix.
Here’s the big question that struck me while I was thinking about Pat and the implications on the organization.
While this is easy to see in other people, what/where are my blind spots? How can I discover them? What do I need to do to improve? Do I have the courage to ask my team what I do that bothers them, offends them, or holds them or me back?
Having this type of courageous and transparent conversation can be a game changer for any executive team. It’s these kinds of conversations that help people and organizations rewrite story endings enabling them to become more powerful and have a greater impact.
Where are your blind spots? What are you willing to do to find out? When you ask your colleagues these questions, assure them that you’re serious about improving, will take their comments at face value, and won’t hold their critique against them, even if it stings a bit.
You can rewrite the ending to your story!
This blog shares perspectives on how you have the ability to create new story endings that are meaningful, powerful and filled with hope. I facilitate culture changing processes that help organizations achieve greater impact. Also, I provide leadership coaching to help executives and aspiring leaders become the fullest expression of who they’re intended to be.
If you’re looking for coaching or consulting services, contact me – email@example.com
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