"Obstacles are things a person sees when they take their eyes off the goal."
- E. Joseph Cossman
I like to convince myself that I'm a "big picture" leader. Focusing on the impact different ideas, opportunities and problems have on my whole organization instead of just my piece of it however, is difficult. As it turns out, thinking strategically and acting strategically are two very different things.
All too often we allow the obstacles that Cossman references to cloud our vision. When that happens we have a tendency to think negative thoughts and get distracted from our real focus. Being stuck in this negative mindset only makes our work more difficult.
For example: If there is a major issue that needs to be addressed and the necessary end result is clear, are you allowing the challenges that are part of that decision to stop the entire process? Yes, details need to be accounted for and managed, but the role of the leader is not to be intimidated by problems, but instead to be bold and push past those problems and achieve the end result that everyone is expecting.
Making difficult decisions is far from easy. Making those decisions when you feel absolutely alone is even worse. Yet it is in those moments that we need to look beyond the noise and criticism and push through.
Effective leadership means you are making decisions.
Effective leadership means you're not name-dropping the CEOs name every five minutes in an attempt to cover your back side.
Effective leadership means leading, and that takes courage. Sadly, many who have a leadership title know little or nothing about being bold, or effective, or courageous.
How About You
What do you do with the obstacles in your life? Are you quick to hide behind the CEOs power suit? Do you retreat to the safety of a risk averse (and horribly ineffective) excuse to abstain from making a decision? Or, are you the one that everyone counts on in a crisis to stand alone and lead the way?
I'd love to hear from you.