Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Know your blind spots

As a long time motorcyclist, I know the importance of constant situational awareness. This includes my mental state, the mechanical performance of the cycle, security of cargo and attentiveness of my favorite passenger. This does not even account for the countless traffic and road conditions around me.

We typically consider “blind spots” to be those areas to our sides and back that we cannot see very well during driving using mirrors. The rider must do something extra ordinary to maintain safety. I have found that blind spots exist in our leadership and job performance skills in the same way. In working with many people over the years I’ve found that providing them with a tool to help them identify their work “blind spots” has been quite helpful.

The “Important-Urgent” grid above has helped many of my mentees over the years understand how to deal with priorities, eliminate fire drills, balance the time-quality trade-off and remove unneeded tasks. Here are my typical findings:

• Urgent/Important – You get fired if these don’t get done!
• Urgent/Not Important – These get too much effort for the value and often could have been anticipated.
• Not Urgent/Important – The most common blind spot. Unfortunately too many leaders put performance reviews, communication and mentoring in this group.
• Not Urgent/Not Important – To who? Make sure you and your boss agree on the category, limit the task, extend the due date or get these officially canceled.

Do you use this or a similar model for finding your blind spots or when helping others?


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