Back in 2006, I had the opportunity to study for three weeks under a masterful commodities trader. It was an incredible learning experience that tested me personally but also deepened my appreciation for continually shifting the probabilities of success every so slightly in my favor. Learning to think in probabilities has been a competitive advantage that has allowed me to surface better thinking, decisions, and actions in moments big and small.
Last winter, as I prepared materials to expose one of our team’s to the practices of adaptive thinkers, I remembered an image from that 2006 experience. The image conveys the difference between successful and unsuccessful traders. It applies equally to business leaders who too often fall into the trap of over-complicating problems and pursuing solutions that are out of step with what was needed.
All too often, in the face of a baffling challenge, leaders search outside themselves and their organization. They can become fixated on pursuing a silver bullet to their organization’s dilemma(s), things like new software systems (e.g., ERP, CRM) or best-selling methods (the young rabbit hunter style). Invariably, the invested time, energy, and money do not produce the desired results.
Instead of looking outward to resolve the challenges they face, leaders benefit more from turning inward to:
- Deepen their understanding of what’s really going on… to see things as they are
- Use their inborn creativity to generate simple changes that allow them to apply the right amount of effort, in the right place, at the right time (the old rabbit hunter style).
When you learn to turn inward, you discover that what you need to meet this moment has been waiting for you.