The Top 5 Leadership Blind Spots Revealed: Have you Got Any?
Revealed: The Top 10 Leadership & Strategy Blind Spots
Ready to Test for Blind Spots?
Are you ready to check for the 5 Blind Spots relating to strategy and execution? That is, the four so-called ‘Hard' Blind Spots:
- The First Mile Blind Spot
- Project Myopia
- Stakeholder Engagement
- Portfolio Blindness
- Niggling Doubt
Let's get started and see if any of these apply to you, your strategy or team.
1. The First Mile
The First Mile is the first so-called ‘hard' Blind Spot.
There is a natural desire to get important initiatives up and running fast. But go too fast, and you will likely pay for it later on.
Strategic initiatives are one of the riskiest things that any organization can do. This is evident from the levels of frustration and even failure involved.
The most effective way to manage risk is to set a project up for success and to prevent false starts. It all starts with the First Mile.
The first mile is about, balancing enthusiasm with caution. Also, balancing the need for speed and agility, with the requirements of project rigor.
How do you know if you could have a ‘First Mile' Blind Spot? Here are some of the ways:
- If there isn't effective dialog and engagement.
- If a gun-ho attitude is preventing people from raising doubts or asking questions.
- If you are not embracing skeptics and cynics.
- If you have been focused on ‘the how' of the project, with little discussion of ‘the why'.
Done right, the first mile connects the project plan to the business strategy and project goals to business needs and priorities.
2. Project Myopia
‘Project Myopia' – is the second so-called ‘Hard' Blind Spot.
Caught up in the daily busyness of running a project, it is easy to lose touch with changing business needs and priorities.
This ‘project myopia’ is actually the number one reason why projects struggle or fail.
But can you adopt a ‘Business First’ perspective, putting the needs of the business ahead of narrow project goals and objectives?
Can you break down silos to ensure that your project is truly cross-functional?
Can you have the strategic conversations that keep the project connected to business strategy?
3. Stakeholder Engagement
Stakeholder Engagement is the third hard Blind spot, highlighted by our data
For many leaders, managing stakeholders means keeping them at arm’s length. That heightens project risk.
But, engaging stakeholders also has risks. For example. will their input be balanced, considered and constructive?
Even the most confident and experienced leaders can be nervous about engaging with sponsors and other internal stakeholders.
The relationship can seem like that of a child going to a parent seeking approval or asking for help. But, to be effective, it should be a meeting of peers.
By definition, ‘stakeholders’ have a stake in the game. They should not be allowed to sit on the sidelines (like spectators).
But, tackling the stakeholder blind spot requires a new level of courage. As well as confidence, curiosity and openness.
4. Portfolio Blindness
There is another form of myopia regarding projects – the failure to look beyond individual projects and to see them as part of a broader strategic portfolio.
In ambitious organizations there will always be more projects, than available resources. Thus, leaders often find themselves playing ‘whack-a-mole' with priorities and initiatives.
This is a sure sign of portfolio-blindness. That is the failure to look beyond individual projects and stand-alone project decisions. A failure to see them as part of a broader strategic portfolio reflective of organizational priorities and strategy.
Saying ‘no' or ‘not now' to projects and initiatives proves very difficult. But, the reality is that not all projects can proceed, and certainly not at the same time.
Rather than siloed or stand-alone decisions, a portfolio mindset is required. But are your key priorities, projects and initiatives being timed and sequenced for maximum success? Are you adopting a portfolio mindset?
Moreover, how well does your portfolio of strategic initiatives reflect the business needs and priorities of your organization? Could greater focus and alignment be required across the organization?
5. Niggling Doubt
‘Niggling Doubt' is the fourth hard Blind Spot.
Too many organizations only do ‘Good News'. But, do your strategy and project updates sound like PR statements?
While ambition is key to driving progress, doubt also plays an important role.
It focuses people on the requirements of successful execution.
So, the question is not: ‘Are there doubts?' But rather: ‘Can doubts be talked about openly?'
To be truly confident in their strategies, leaders must engage with doubt, talking openly about risk and uncertainty.
What are the Implications?
Well done, you are now familiar with the 4 so-called ‘Hard' blind spots relating to strategy and execution.
Here is a quick recap:
- The First Mile
- Project Myopia
- Project Proliferation & the Strategic Portfolio
- Niggling Doubt
Do any of these blind spots apply to you, your organization, strategy or team?
Take care if you are tempted to answer ‘no'. That is because the greatest blind spot of all is the failure to recognize blind spots!
Are you concerned about these or any other blind spots that could impact on the success of your strategy? If yes, why not talk to us?
SOLUTIONS & SERVICES: Here are some of the ways that our research & insights are put to work by our clients: