As a high-level strategy leader, have you ever considered what your ‘line of sight’ is likely to produce? What I mean by line of sight is the level or focal point that has your attention on a regular basis. Having worked with thousands of top leaders, managers, and technical experts from more than forty countries around the world, it became clear to me very quickly that most people have a very consistent ‘line of sight’ that drives their thinking, perspective, and decision-making. That is, they are consistently looking at certain ‘horizons’ of time, levels of impact, and structures of thinking.
Being aware and making thoughtful choices about your line of sight goes a long way toward providing more – and better options – in creating value and impact for your team, clients, and organization.
Ask yourself this question: What usually has or regularly grabs my attention? Is it the immediate demands of your job? Is it how to organize and deploy your people best? Is it your clients’ emergencies? Is it this week’s, this month’s, or this quarter’s goals? Or is it the mission and annual goals of the company, the future of your industry, or what the next great innovations need to be? Each of these questions has implications for what you pay attention to, how you organize your thinking and decision-making, and where you put your time and energy, as well as the time and energy of your people.
Let’s talk about the different ‘line of sight’ options in front of you right now. Let us assume that you’re looking at your next choice of actions or activities. What are you and your people going to do next? The problem with this is that it rarely generates the best value or the greatest impact. You must take action, but every action should be delivering exceptional impact on what is most important to your organization and clients. Your next action needs to be aligned with producing the most meaningful results, the best impact, and the level of value you that your group are committed to delivering.
Another line of sight option is looking at the specifications clients are asking for. What’s the challenge with this? A lot of times, they are not clear about what really matters, what would be most valuable, and what would deliver the most meaningful results. Their specifications and therefore the activities we’re taking on to meet those specifications may not generate the results they really most need to produce. Do you see the difference between looking at the actions, looking at the specifications requested by clients, and keeping your focus on the high value results really worth achieving for our clients? This is a massive difference.
Stepping up your line of sight, you see that we are looking out further in time – and higher in terms of the value and impact. This is a level I call Higher-Value, more meaningful results. Focusing on a line of sight like this would be exceptionally powerful. Specifications and activities are things for you to do consistent with the things clients say they want done. High Value, Meaningful Results, however, are the most important kinds of results that clients and your organization really value, appreciate and respect most. Focusing on these high value results are what leads you to choose the appropriate specifications and activities. We want to make sure that when we’re talking to our people our line of sight is squarely and consistently focused on high impact, meaningful value; especially value in the eyes of our client.
The next level in terms of line of sight (which is even higher than meaningful results) is the key goals of the entire company or organization. The key goals of the organization are drivers of the meaningful results that a group within the company should focus on. These results then are the drivers of the specifications worth achieving, and then these drive the choice of actions and activities.
The line of sight with the greatest impact and value is the fulfilling of the high level mission of the company and the high level mission of your clients. Making a strategic impact at this level has ramifications for all of the other lines of sight. Starting here is the best driver of clarity at the level of the goals of the company and the goals of your clients. This will guarantee you more value, impact, and results – especially when you start from the highest line of sight and systematically work your way down to the level of what is your next best action.
To your success,