One afternoon, while walking through my living room, I felt like something was off.
It wasn’t anything obvious, but I turned around a few times and finally found the problem. It was the valance over one of my window blinds, now laying abandoned on the floor. You know the valances I am describing – little slabs of wood (or faux wood) magically suspended in the air above your nice hanging blinds. I learned quickly that these valances were not actually floating above my blinds. The valances are attached by fragile little plastic valance clips. When baked from too much sunshine, the flimsy little plastic pieces become quite feeble. And if these clips are even slightly jarred, the valance falls.
I thought to myself, “This should be an easy problem to fix. I’ll just drive down to the local big box home supply store and pick up a new set of clips.”
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Taking the broken clip with me, I headed to the store to quickly solve my problem. Once I got to the store, I strolled up and down various aisles looking for these tiny clips. Growing more and more frustrated, I hoped to quickly locate the solution to my problem. I just needed a stinking clip! But there were no clips to be found. I spent way too much time attempting to solve this problem.
Finally, exasperated, I asked for help.
The employee confirmed what I already discovered; the store doesn’t carry the clips. Not only that, but you also have to special order them – UGGHH! I had locked in on what I thought would be the solution to my problem, and felt quite frustrated when my “easy” solution did not pan out. However, the employee then suggested I walk down the next aisle and purchase some sticky-backed Velcro® to re-attach the valance. And I did just that. It worked brilliantly. I have since replaced most of my valance clips with Velcro.
The home supply store employee had the right solution to my problem. And, I had to be open to seeing a better solution with help from someone who saw my problem through a different lens.
Often, we see leaders come into our Milestone Leadership Intensive with a problem they are not able to solve.
In many cases leaders are fixated on one solution and see the problem through a very specific lens. However, after being challenged to “Re-Lens” their problem (i.e., see their problem through a different lens) some participants see new potential solutions surface. Many times, like my experience with the home supply store employee, a great solution comes through the lens of another person. There is great value for leaders to take the time to switch the lens through which they are viewing their problem. You might be surprised by the problems you can solve by simply switching the lens through which you are viewing problems – or even allow someone else to provide you with a fresh, new lens.
At our Milestone Leadership Intensive, we provide content and reflective space for each leader to Re-Lens their view of their own leadership, team, and organization. These leaders worth following construct, deconstruct and reconstruct actionable ideas. When this learning is applied, it can literally shape the trajectory of their leadership future.
We believe strongly in the power of Re-Lensing your leadership. If you find yourself with an unsolvable problem, you may just need to switch your lens.