Monday, July 25, 2011

Where Are Your Eyes?

Photo by ArkansasShutterbug

This weekend my wife, daughter, and I went for a drive over Colorado's Trail Ridge Road. Located in Rocky Mountain National Park, this road is simply spectacular. Herds of elk grazed the alpine tundra, marmots scurried for cover as we passed, and fields of snow reflected the late July sun. It was a perfect morning to enjoy the scenery.

"I need you to focus."

The road winds for several miles 11,000 feet or more above sea level and there are several stretches where failing to pay attention to the road could have dire consequences. My wife spoke these words as my attention wandered to a herd of elk with several magnificent bucks, their antlers still covered in velvet. As my eyes turned toward the elk, so did the steering wheel...

As leaders, it is easy to forget that our energy, time, and teams, will ultimately be claimed by what has our attention. If more than a day or two goes by where we are not consciously reflecting or thinking about what we are doing, we can easily lose site of what is most important for us and for our teams.

Two of the most common distractions include:

1. Focusing on problems, not on solutions. We cannot find what we are not looking for. Focus on solutions!

2. Focusing on the past (what went wrong), not the present or future (what can go right). The past is useful for teaching us and can inform our future, but vision and positive change can only take place now and in the future. Focus on what the team does next!

Where are your eyes?

Take care,

David M. Dye

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Twitter: @davidmdye
David shares twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoys helping others discover and realize their own potential.

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