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Gaining Perspective Through Adventures

Image of a Bösendorfer piano, taken in the Gut...Image via Wikipedia

Leading is an adventure. Especially in this fast-paced, rapidly-changing world. Regardless of the industry or the marketplace in which you play, few leadership competencies are more critical than perspective:

  • Being able to think globally.
  • Seeing issues and challenges from the broadest possible view.
  • Posing future scenarios with ease.

Where does perspective come from?

It's not about graduating top of the class necessarily or coming up with 50 ways to build a better mouse trap. It comes from living a life as an adventure:

  • enjoying a breadth of diverse interests
  • looking for unique opportunities to experience new cultures, tastes, sensations -- in new and unusual places
  • being curious about how things work, how they connect, and "what ifs"
  • enjoying Qs more than As, and absolutely loving "maybes"

Live life that way -- every day -- and as a leader, you'll have a huge repertoire to draw from when you need a new idea or a strategy for a situation you've never faced before.

Remember's history fascination and admiration of the "Renaissance Man?" It was perspective that fascinated us -- their breadth of knowledge and interests and pursuits.

Develop perspective. Start today, wherever you are on that continuum between "narrow and parochial" and "curious and global." Resist the temptation to "lean in" and select on your iPad or smart phone only those topics and apps that currently interest you. Do what the burgeoning hi-tech industry calls "lay back" by broadening your data stream to include intriguing new topics and options that you've never explored before.

Try these tips and tricks and techniques to enhance perspective.
  • Read international publications and autobiographies of people you've never heard of. Pick a country and study it. Read the Wall Street Journal and Inc. and jot down three interesting things that parallel what's going on with you. Learn to connect what's out there, with what' s in here.
  • Pick something to dabble in that you've not paid much attention to before -- the opera, MTV, learn to play the piano, romance novels, be a Big Brother/Big Sister, learn to juggle. What new connections surface for you? Your brain is gaining perspective without you even working at it.
  • Volunteer for a task force or a cross-functional team at work that requires you to learn other functions, businesses or nationalities, helping you see connections to a broader world and from a number of diverse viewpoints.
And finally, see life as an adventure. It is. But you have to acknowledge that fact and show up that way in order to broaden your perspective and enhance your leadership. Enjoy the ride.
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