Standing at a lookout in the grand city of La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, one gets giddy with the view -literally, as standing at 5,000 feet above sea level the oxygen is thin, and figuratively, as one’s brain tries to make sense of the vastness of the view and ant-like movements of the thousands below making their way in the world.
At the perch of this incredible vista, one feels the enormity of the planet, and the smallness of your own existence. It is a view that changed the way I looked at the world – and a moment I’ll never forget.
A new perspective has the power to transform; your opinion, your views even your beliefs. However, in our day-to-day working lives we exist in the always-on and connected world. The world where we look at our phones tens of times a day, check emails, social media and absorb news and gossip of people we don’t know. I’ve often wondered what my concept of time would be without it all. Is our always-connected life changing our view of the world? Is it helping? Is it benefiting our businesses?
The dis-ease of modern life is overwhelming; we feel like we need to be always on the top of the mound of information coming at us. Sure, working in this way, we get a lot of emails sent and work done but perhaps we’re also missing out on new perspectives, observations and connections.
For example, when you receive an email from a colleague that immediately gets your back up – what is the advice you have heard 1000 times? Don’t respond straight away! Leave the computer and walk away. When you come back to it, often your response is different, because with time you think about the email differently.
Apply that same thinking to your daily work life; how many of us are running our businesses, teams and projects in a constant state of emotional reaction? There ARE so many things to do, but when we need to be strategic and show leadership to those around us, how does this thinking impact the decisions we make? How many of us feel we are too busy to do anything proactive? That we can’t stop or things will fall apart around us?
Are we busy going in circles?
Gaining perspective, a new perspective, a fresh look or even one garnered through someone else’s eyes is invaluable. Whether this is for your whole company, your project or your team, being able to stop and hear what others are saying, and see things from a distance can make all the difference.
I have facilitated over 75 strategic planning days for large and small companies, not for profits, start-ups and one person operations. They are all amazing days and no two are the same. One of the most valuable parts of the experience is when the leaders hand over the reins, so they can just sit back, listen and participate as someone looking in from the outside. You can see the weight lift, and the body language change, revelling in the excuse to be focused and to turn off that phone. And without fail, the insights begin. Every time – it is an extraordinary thing. If we all had a zoomed our view of our businesses, I wonder how different they’d be.
What’s the view of your business from the lookout?