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From hindsight to foresight

Seeing round corners is fundamental to great leadership - and these 3 simple steps can help leaders cultivate game-changing foresight.

I’m going to illustrate the 3-step process with the story of Charlie (name changed, natch).

Shining star recently Charlie achieved their dream of stepping up to the main board of a highly successful professional services firm - only to find the actual board meetings baffling, bruising and even belittling.

✅ Step 1

Counter-intuitively, the first step on the road the greater foresight is to embrace hindsight.

Hindsight is very different to self-recrimination, blame and anger.

It’s where we look at difficult times from the safe perspective of the present.

We identify key factors and how we might want to do things differently next time.

With reflective thought, Charlie was able to see that three things had been knocking them off their stride:

🙀 How quickly the ‘well dones’ had turned into heightened expectations.

🙀 That business growth was the only currency that really counted.

🙀 ‘New’ ideas had in fact already been shared with at least one other director.

✅ Step 2

The next step is to become aware in real-time of the same situation playing out, without yet quite having the power to change things.

This is called mid-sight.

It’s about being curious, exploring and examining in the moment.

With mid-sight Charlie...

🧐 was less baffled because they could spot the moves that were being made

🧐 could feel themselves physically contracting in their chair

🧐 was aware of a sense of acute isolation.

✅ Step 3

You’re now familiar with the way things unfold. You can see it coming. You’re ready to bring different qualities to the party and experiment with different responses. Foresight is yours.

Empowered with foresight, Charlie made some important steps forward:

💪 In a bid to start forming top level alliances, they joined a working group convened to encourage referrals between departments.

💪 They made a point of arriving early for board meetings and sitting, proud and upright, in a prime seat.

💪 They started actually presenting updates rather than just talking them through – using all the panache that had made them a serial pitch winner.

The meetings carry on as robustly as before – what’s changed is Charlie’s experience of them. For all that the process this simple, it takes plenty of honesty, self-compassion and perseverance.


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