Look for Solutions in Unlikely Places
Happy Independence Day! We’re taking a break from the podcast as our team is mostly off traveling or doing other things, so we thought we’d do something a little different and leave you with a brief leadership thought. A leadership thought is intended to be a short episode where we take a simple idea, attach it to a story, and ask you to reflect as it relates to your own leadership context. They’re often great conversation starters or jumping-off points for broader discussion. The leadership thought in this episode came to me on a morning run, and it has to do with stepping back and examining, or re-examining, everything at your disposal when faced with a problem you can’t figure out.
Examining Leadership through MegaMan
Recently, I was out for a run in my neighborhood and passed a car that had a MegaMan bumper sticker on it. Those of you who grew up in the ’80s may remember that MegaMan was the title character of a Nintendo video game, and I remember playing that game for hours with my brother. We eventually beat the game, but there was one level we got really stuck on. I remember feeling so defeated because no matter what we tried, we just couldn’t get past the main bad guy. One thing you need to know about MegaMan is that he had all of these special weapons and gear that you cycled through to overcome different obstacles or defeat various bad guys. And we thought we’d tried all of them, and nothing worked.
For some reason, my dad got involved in helping us get past this level. He wasn’t into video games, but somehow he got a hold of a phone number to call Nintendo. (This was way before the internet.) I’m not sure if this was like a tip line or something, but he called, with my brother and I crowded around the receiver listening, and the guy on the other end told us that you had to use the bubble gun to get past that level. Now the bubble gun, we thought, was worthless. We’d never used it up to that point, but apparently, it was the only one that could defeat this particular bad guy. So we tried it, it worked almost comically easily, and we went on to beat the game.
The solution to our problem was sitting there the whole time, right under our noses and we failed to even try it because we thought we knew what it would do. We thought we’d exhausted all of our resources and options, and it was just a matter of our own skills preventing us from making it further in the game. The solution had nothing to do with talent, really, but everything to do with using the right tool at the right time to get to where we wanted to go. And maybe asking for help. The solution was about knowledge. Knowledge of how the game worked, what recourses we had, and how they worked in every situation.
Leadership Thought Reflections
My simple leadership thought for you today is simply this: are you aware of all the resources you have at your disposal and how to use them? Do you know who you can ask for help when you’re stuck, and when you’re actually stuck and need to stop trying on your own?
Think of a problem you’re facing right now. How can you re-examine or take another look at all of the things in front of you that might help you get past it? What needs to be considered again? Is there a team member who usually doesn’t get asked to look at this particular issue, but might have some out-of-the-box thinking to get the ball moving in the right direction? Is there a physical object or actual tool that maybe you haven’t tried because you think you know how it works? The answer might be right in front of you if you know where to look or who to ask. Perhaps we just need to examine things from different angles from time to time.
We’ll be back next week with more episodes continuing in our team engagement series. If you have any questions about how to create a strengths-based team in your organization, visit us at leadershipvisionconsulting.com or connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Leadership Vision Podcast
The Leadership Vision Podcast is a weekly show sharing our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of a strengths-based approach to people, teams, and culture. We believe that knowing your Strengths is only the beginning. Our highest potential exists in the ongoing exploration of our talents. Subscribe to the Leadership Vision Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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