I saw a moose yesterday.
He wasn’t easy to see. He was standing among some aspen trees and was camouflaged by shadow. But I saw him.
I’ve spent the past week driving and hiking through the Grand Tetons and parts of Yellowstone. Wildlife here is abundant — and elusive. While you can occasionally see a moose or bear leisurely crossing the road, more often than not, you have to look for them. This means you have to do two things if you want to see, for example, a moose:
- You have to have moose on your radar.
- You have to actively look for the moose.
[You: “Why are you writing about moose? Moose spotting is not a big part of my job description as a business leader.”]
Well, I would argue that moose spotting is a big part of your job description — except in your case, the moose is a metaphor. A metaphor for what, you ask?
Take your pick:
- Opportunities for advancement
- Examples of your team members “doing something right” that you can acknowledge them for
- Chances to increase profits
- Warning signs of impending change
- Indications of emerging trends
Basically, your moose is whatever you want to bring into your life — and by “life” I mean both your business and your personal life. It’s your “wish list.” And just like me and moose spotting, you have to do the same two things for the items on your wish list:
- You have to have them on your radar.
- You have to actively look for them.
Let’s take, for example, chances to increase profits. Just like the moose (plural) in the Tetons, they’re all around you. But they’re elusive. If they’re not on your radar, you’ll miss them. If you’re not actively looking for them, you’ll miss them.#Leaders: you’re missing out on opportunities when they’re not on your radar. #leadership Click To Tweet
I’m sure you’re familiar with the leadership adage, “catch your employees doing something right.” It’s based on the principle that what gets acknowledged and rewarded gets repeated. But many leaders don’t have this principle on their radar. And because it’s not on their radar, they’re not actively looking for opportunities to put it into practice.
When something is “on your radar,” it becomes a habit. It becomes a part of who you are.
When I was a comedy writer, “seeing the funny” in situations and writing jokes about them became almost effortless. That’s because “funny” was my radar. Virtually everything that happened, everything I read, everything anyone said to me, first went through the “can I make this funny?” filter. (This got me into trouble relatively frequently; still does.) And here’s what I discovered because of that:
When something is firmly embedded on your radar, the “actively looking” part becomes practically automatic.
If saying “thank you” is a part of who you are, it takes no effort to remember to say it when the server refills your water glass.
If acknowledging your team is a part of who you are, you’re not going to miss it when Emma’s idea increases productivity 15%.
So here’s my question for you: What’s going to move your needle forward — in your work life and in your personal life? Whatever it is (and there will be more than one answer), do everything you can to put it on your radar. Make a vision board, put Post-It® notes around the house, read books and articles. Make it a part of who you are.
And then go out and actively look for your moose. You may find that he’s been hiding in plain sight all along.