Have you ever wondered how ballerinas, whose pirouettes make you dizzy just watching them, manage to keep their balance? They use a technique called spotting, And with apologies to the ballet purest who may be appalled at my butchering of the concept, I think there is much that leaders, who find themselves dizzily spinning from one issue to the next, can learn from this technique.
As I understand it, spotting entails keeping your eye on a fixed spot, and then quickly whipping your head around to return to the same spot so that, in your mind’s eye, you never really moved. While your body may turn at a slower rate, as long as your eyes quickly come back to the fixed spot, you will not get dizzy. You see where I’m going here, right?
We as leaders need to keep our eyes fixed on our mission. In the midst of twirling from one project to the next (which, let’s face it, has from time to time left us all staggering and off balance), we have to find a way to maintain solid footing. Your mission should be the fixed spot that keeps you balanced. Simple in concept, much harder in practice.
It is so easy to get pulled into an issue or project that spins you in an unexpected direction; and when you allow your focus to get caught up in the details of the spin, you can end up miles off course from your fixed point . . . often times dazed and confused as to how you got there. You got there because you took your eyes off the prize.
You are the only one who can keep your focus spot on.
Your fixed point, your mission, is likely unique to your organization. Therefore seems only logical that others with whom you interact will not be focused on the same spot, and in fact may try to pull you closer to their fixed spot (not necessarily maliciously, but rather in an attempt to keep their own balance). So how do you combat this? Any time you feel yourself getting sucked into a spin, simply stop . . . get your bearings . . . and find your fixed spot. Granted, this usually happens when deadlines are looming, people need answers now, specific courses of action sound so logical, and (clue!) the whole process is sucking the life out of you. Take a deep breath, and find your fixed spot. Once you do, people will be amazed at how quickly you can spin without getting dizzy.
And when you come out of that spin, confident and on solid footing, you will know it was because your leadership was spot on.