The High & Low Sight skill: a scarce but valued capacity for great leaders
By Juanpablo Barrantes
(5 min read)
—Far enough, but also close enough to what really matters in the Organization. How to develop a dual-skill that propels your team’s performance up to the next level— THE HIGH SIGHT SKILL. Great visionaries see beyond anyone could reach sight. A compelling new idea or revolutionary concept is always shaped and relentlessly pushed by someone who is highly inspired and fully convinced that a change or even a disruption will benefit those around him (not only him!). In most instances, inspiration is the cornerstone and common factor of any new idea or concept to be followed by the masses. In consequence, great visionaries gain influence over many people who become his followers because they feel inspired an even fully committed to a particular cause. A great leader is a visionary, he has the ability to see what others don’t, at least with enough anticipation so he reaches to visualize what nobody is able to see. To me, this quality means being ahead of distance and time, seeing the whole picture and not just fragments of the story, with clarity of mind and calmness of spirit, but also being a credible leader with a bold determination on a purpose to accomplish. THE LOW SIGHT SKILL. Attention to details is crucial for any manager looking for team alignment and focus on the processes that deliver results. Moreover, the lesson here is: you have to be very, very picky and wise on choosing what kind of details to stare at. Just imagine the thousands of details involved in a working environment... So amongst an ocean of tiny twists and shouts in the daily agenda of your team, what are the few relevant details to focus on? Here’s what I recommend. - have a clear understanding of the key business indicators you and your team are being asked in delivering to the front end. Those metrics are the results that drive the business, for example: sales and profit. - define a set of key process indicators for each key business indicator. These second level metrics are the ones that drive the final results and they should fall under the influence and control of you and your team. So, if sales and profits are the end results of your Company, then a second level of process indicators might be units produced and inventory levels. - reflect, nurture and relentlessly foster on a set of key behaviors that drive any of the key process indicators you previously agreed to follow up. Then, for a set of key process indicators you will focus your attention on a set of key behavior indicators, being these kbi’s the crucial details you must strive for your limited time and attention. What might be a set of behaviors for the kpi’s defined previously: units produced and inventory levels? Well, how about ordering and producing only what the customer needs? Just think on the key desired actions that need to be done for every level of the Organization in order to be successful, then focus your attention on supporting what everyone needs to honor each of those key behaviors. THE GREATEST CHALLENGE: HAVING BOTH SKILLS UNDER YOUR DOMAIN. Over history we’ve seen great and famous leaders who shine either for being great disruptors (high sight skilled leaders) OR for being great specialists (low sight skilled leaders). In the list of famous disruptors: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr; just to mention a few... On the other hand, in the list of great specialists: Steve Wozniak, Paul Allen, Napoleon Hill, hum... the list of famous specialists is not as easy as the list of famous disruptors since the common trait of a low sight specialist is to stay behind the stage supporting a high sight disruptor. The norm or most common situation is to find each of the High and Low Sight skills separately, but so rarely to find a dual-sight skilled leader. So I will leave a couple of questions for your reflection: - Is it really possible to develop and master the dual-sight skill as a leader? - In the event the answer of the first question you think it’s true, how do you gauge yourself in becoming a dual-skilled leader?