Sometimes too much focus can lead to tunnel vision. This is bad in the boardroom as well as the cockpit.
I experienced a mishap early in my flying days that serves as an example. I was preparing for a return trip to southern NJ from Columbus, OH and wanted to avoid the thunderstorms that were predicted to build throughout the day. While committing to avoiding the storms was prudent, spending all that energy on one task left me vulnerable to other hidden dangers.
The first sign of trouble occurred at takeoff when I was halfway down the runway. I heard a loud whooshing sound from the right/front passenger door. I hadn’t completely latched the door and, consequently, air came rushing in. In my mind, I was in no imminent danger because the door would not open due to the outside air pressure. I had to make a decision though: turn around/land to the latch the door or continue without delay to avoid the storms.
I chose to continue
Though I initially thought the unlatched door was just an annoyance, I learned differently when I entered the clouds. Since clouds are made of moisture vapor droplets, it began to “rain” inside the cockpit!
You can catch the full story in an article published in AOPA Pilot Magazine. In short, bad went to worse and I was forced to land in West Virginia. Though the incident was more embarrassing than anything else, it could have easily escalated to a life-threatening situation.
As business leaders, we face the same challenges when we get so deep in the weeds that we lose sight of the big picture. The day-to-day can eat us up and leave us vulnerable to what’s really brewing “outside.”
There is hope
I encourage clients to schedule full-day quarterly and annual meetings outside the office to work “on” their businesses. During these meetings, they review their Rock completion for the previous 90 days and set new/fresh Rocks for the upcoming quarter. As they develop a pulse of working on their business every 90 days, they successfully avoid the tunnel vision that can throw them off track.
Stay focused, but don’t ignore latched doors. They may lead you to West Virginia when your destination is New Jersey!
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