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Blindspots and Fenderbenders

Blind Spots and Fenderbenders

Jennifer Freeland - Guest Blogger -

 The back cover page of the New York Times Magazine, April 4, 2010, displayed an advertisement for the Acura MDX Advance. Normally, I wouldn’t pay any attention to a car ad because I’m not in the market.  This ad was different. The small black dot on the upper left center of the page looked out of place. I wondered why it was there.

The large print directed me to ‘Close your right eye while you read this.’ I was intrigued, so I dutifully closed my right eye and continued reading. The ad further directed me to hold the page at arms length then move it back and forth.

As I moved the page back and forth, the black dot disappeared. The light went off~

That’s my blind spot, I thought!

The ad then gave me more information about a new technology on the car that could detect objects in the blind spot and warn the driver. Think about all the accidents on I-95 because a driver changed lanes and didn’t see the car in the blind spot! This new technology could make a real difference. I didn’t rush out and buy the car, but ad did make me think.

Leaders have blind spots too. Unfortunately, there is no technology that I know of that automatically warns a leader who wants to ‘change lanes’ that there is something waiting to crash into the organization. Sometimes it is necessary to make adjustments to the organization’s course and then a leader must focus in many directions, not just on what is ahead. The key is to know where the blind spot is, and avoid a wreck. Strategic Leaders can develop the skill of Agility to help avoid a collision and diminish the organization’s blind spot.

Agility requires the SLer to use systems thinking, reframing, and reflecting to Anticipate changes in the environment, develop a shared reality, and then Articulate direction through the organization’s statement of intent.  The statement of intent for SLers is equivalent to the MDX technology for removing blind spots.

SLers use the Strategic Thinking Protocol to develop the statement of intent – looking inside and outside, listening, and learning, SWOTing, developing missions, aspirations, and setting priorities  – all provide the data to decrease the chance that the organization will crash.

Nothing is fool proof. The unanticipated event can still occur despite deliberate preparation. The organization may need to change lanes. When this occurs, The Statement of Intent is the tool to aid the leader in making the adjustments and keeping the organization moving forward. Everything must align to it. Everything that doesn’t must be discarded. The difference between an Sler and a leader without a statement of intent is that the SLer used their thinking skills and the strategic thinking protocol to diminish the blind spot.

The takeaway is that SLers may suffer only a fender bender while other leaders and their organization may end up totaled, and without insurance.
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