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Sensing vs. Seeing

Dec 19, 2019

As a leader, there are certain things you sense before you see. Don’t miss those two words: sense and see. As a leader, you’ll begin to sense things under the surface: restlessness, discontentment…something wrong. You’ll see team members who are disconnecting at some level; you’ll sense that your team has lost their fizz. You’ll realize the excitement in your organization is gone.

You’ll come to the realization that you need to make some changes, even if you can’t yet put your finger on what they need to be. You sense it. Your responsibility, then, is to address the problems you sense when you sense them: not put it off until you see evidence of them.

Most of us wait to make changes until we see the issue come to a head. The challenge with that strategy is that, by the time you see these problems, it’s often too late. All you can do at that point is put on the brakes, try to explain it away, and attempt to slow down the trajectory of your organization.

So why don’t people make changes when they’re sensing it? Firstly, because they can’t articulate what’s wrong; secondly, because we live by the notion of, “If it’s not broken, why fix it?” Leaders wait for things to break so there will be evidence—everybody will say, “Yeah! We do have a problem. Let’s fix it now.”

As a leader, I’m challenging you to do the difficult but essential thing: don’t wait too long! Make the necessary changes now, before they show themselves in your organization.

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