Rear View Mirror Or Windshield? - Gulf Business
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Rear View Mirror Or Windshield?

Rear View Mirror Or Windshield?

It’s important to look to both the past and the future when leading in 2013, writes leadership expert Tommy Weir.

Happy New Year! Fortunately, for most businesses in the region, 2012 delivered stellar results and is worthy of celebration. This brings us to the question: ‘rear view mirror’ or ‘windshield’? Which are you giving your attention to?

As tempting as it is at the beginning of a new year to only look at the windshield, I hope both given that 2012 is the first year in several that is comprehensively worthy of celebration. So be sure to spend some time with your team and celebrate. This celebration will positively reiterate to your team and employees the impact that their efforts had.

Additionally, it is good to look into the rear view mirror and use 2012 as a point of improvement. What separates great organisations from average companies is their focus on continuous improvement or as I like to simply call “making it better.”

After celebrating what made a year great and highlighting all of the success, one of my favourite exercises with my clients, is to have them reset the clocks to January 1 and then answer, “Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?” This simple question pulls them straight into the focus of continuous improvement.

“Making it better” should not be limited to one time per year. The rear view mirror is a mighty good tool for building the habit of doing better for the customers and owners. And it is the leader’s role to champion the culture of continuous improvement. As a leader, you need to force your team to look back in order to act on opportunities to improve the performance. If you do not provide the accountability for improvements, who will?

Now let’s shift our attention from the rear view mirror and focus looking out the windshield as we prepare move into 2013. 2013 promises to be another speedy year. Knowing this, it begs the question: “What should leaders focus on to reach peak speed?”

Let’s pause and look at the top four speed traps on the autobahn of business. They are:

■ NOT KNOWING THE WAY
Anytime leaders or team members are uncertain about the direction they slow down and potentially get “off road” creating a distraction for all.

■ DEBRIS IN THE WAY
Leaders need to remove the obstacles that stand in the way of speed. These could be in the form of policies, procedures, and fellow teammates to name a few.

■ RUNNING THE BUSINESS VERSUS DOING THE BUSINESS
This is when employees become internally focused and think from the perspective of their desk, department and ease. Speed happens best when everyone if focused on the end- customer, the one who buys the goods or services.

■ MISMATCHED STRATEGY FOR THE MARKET
Many multi-nationals suffer from this speed trap as the global conglomerate is misaligned with the regional market.

To lead in the midst of another speedy year, leaders need to make sure they have the right vehicle for the right environment. A Porsche 911 loses its speed in a desert race. The same is true for an organisation that is misplaced in structure, strategy, process and people for a speedy market.

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