Lights! Camera! Action! – Take a snapshot of a day in a leaders life – From waking up to a barrage of emails, navigating through a day full of meetings, responding to immediate challenges, driving agendas for growth and profitability to putting out fires… A typical day that requires immediate and a short-term focus.

But ultimately a leader’s everyday actions are measured in the long-term impact created by them. The true worth of a leader is evaluated in the legacy that gets created in the process of executing the task of daily leadership.

If, as a leader, you are interested in leaving a legacy that is uniquely yours; of having made a sustained difference then you do need to develop the thinking skill to rise above the everyday chaos and take a long shot perspective.

Here’s a Thinking Partners framework that can be used as a thinking prompt to  taking long shot perspectives in everyday chaos and take actions that address everyday issues at a fundamental level and create a lasting impact.

Context

It makes for insightful thinking when a leader is able to observe how the current paradigms and social contexts are giving rise to the type of everyday challenges that are emerging. Some questions to ask are –

  • How is this particular event or challenge related to the happenings in the wider social and cultural environment of the organization?
  • What part of the predominant thinking is being reflected in these issues?

History

Locating daily occurrences in the overall organizational history requires answering the question –

  • How is the organizational history speaking through these current events?
  • What are some histories that are continuing to be repeated?

Patterns

Observing the emergence of patterns in the random events that are part of the everyday organizational reality is a critical skill in connecting the dots.

  • How are these issues/challenges connected with other issues in other business domains?
  • What pattern is emerging?
  • What might be some points of leverage in the patterns?

The emerging story

Listening deeply to the narrative that is emerging from the interplay of social context, history and patterns –

  • What type of narrative is being formed?
  • What type of narrative needs to be formed?

Insights

Gaining insights require mining the whole emerging narrative for insights for actions

  • What result needs to be accomplished?
  • What is the real change that is needed?
  • What needs to be preserved and what needs to be altered?
  • What are the points of maximum leverage?  

Benefits

Taking a long shot perspective using the framework above has critical advantages for a leader –

  • Connecting various aspects of the issues across business boundaries creates the potential to break the silos thinking
  • Thinking with a long shot perspective requires zooming out and being able to see everyday issues within the wider context. This way of thinking, therefore becomes an instrument to stop the personal blame game that all too often cripples organisational cultures.
  • Long perspective thinking compels leaders to identify the systemic forces at play and creates opportunities for actions that address the underlying causes rather than just treating the symptoms.  

None of what is shared above is new knowledge; it might be considered more of a synthesis of known perspectives. However, as a coach, I can tell you that real value of this article lies in actually taking the time to answering the questions for yourself.  

Ultimately, The ability to view things from wider angles and formulate a thinking that brings various aspects into a whole narrative ensures that a leader remains focused on leading and not get derailed into the role of a manager. Using the above framework the leader gets to be true custodian of the organizational vision and lead it above the everyday challenges.

Image Courtsey – funphotography.club

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