Many years ago, we lived in a condominium high on a hill. It was a two-level condominium with two balconies. One was off of the dining room upstairs and one off the master bedroom downstairs. They had almost a one-hundred-eighty degree view of the ocean. It was beautiful many days out of the year but fogged in on many days as well.
Whenever we had the time and thought about it, my wife and I would take a glass of wine out on the balcony and quietly enjoy the view. Okay, it wasn’t that quiet on our balconies. We were right on the corner of a bustling intersection. Several times
during the year, we would hear a terrible vehicle crash and have to run out to make sure someone contacted the emergency first-responders.
Lift Your Gaze
And, to be fair, the view was not a pristine view of the ocean either. We had to make sure we lifted our gaze and mentally blocked out the shopping center parking lot right in front of us with all its distractions. To be sure, the view of the ocean was beautiful. We could see out to Catalina Island on many days. On a few unusually clear days, we could see as far as San Clemente Island to the south of us. But, we had to work at ignoring the close-in distractions.
We eventually learned not to make the intersection, the traffic, or the shopping center our focus of attention. Instead, we mostly focused on the peaceful Pacific Ocean.
Yet, we couldn’t ignore the details going on close to us. We did indeed shop at the shopping center, and we ate at several of the restaurants that were all within walking distance. So, what was going on in front of us was essential, and we took advantage of the amenities. All the activity, however, could easily keep us from seeing the ocean with all the wildlife and sailboats.
Long View for Business
It’s the same for leaders in business. The ocean is analogous to the market and economic trends. The shopping center and busy intersection are similar to day-to-day operations. We need to do both. Our attention is often scattered these days, and it isn’t easy to focus on the few significant tasks—details demand our focus and energy.
COVID-19 grabbed our attention and dragged it down to the many trivial things we needed to accomplish to survive and stay in the game. However, now is the time to lift our gaze and start taking a long view of our business. There are many new opportunities, and there are more disruptions ahead, as well. Intent-based leadership (IBL) companies will excel in this environment.
I believe that IBL companies have the best chance of coming out of this pandemic ahead of the competition. They have everyone in the organization thinking, making decisions, and holding themselves accountable. In the IBL organization, leaders have pushed authority out to where the information resides. There is clarity of values and vision as well as a high level of technical competency. Above all, an IBL company is a safe environment that grows high-functioning teams.
It is now time for the leadership team to take a long view of the business. Without a doubt, there is more disruption ahead. Perhaps a resurgence of the virus or increased competition from a more agile competitor. Regardless, it is now time to create the future for ourselves.[Lightly edited for our new website, 9/2020]