Does your inner circle have your back?

Column by JAY PERRY

As humans we are all subject to certain effects that limit ourselves in achieving our potential. One such effect is the bias that we are more competent in areas where we, in reality are not, thus over-estimating our abilities.

Another effect is called ‘hindsight bias’, in which once observing a result we experience the sense that we could have predicted the outcome.

The fact we all have these biases is not something to be ashamed of, nor should they make us feel less than we are. What is key is creation of awareness that we all possess these biases. That awareness allows us to take steps to remedy the folly the biases will inflict upon us if we proceed without acknowledging their existence.

The question truly is how do I become aware of where I am short-changing myself with these biases? One of the key strategies is to face the fact that we all have blind spots. That opens the opportunity to gain some assistance in overcoming the dangers of these blind spots. If you think about it like our real faculty of sight, it makes logical sense that we cannot see beyond our peripheral field of vision. Unless you truly have eyes on the back of your head, you are unable to see what is immediately behind you. Having a friend or associate becomes invaluable—they’re someone to watch your back.

The same applies to us as leaders. We cannot see everything, nor know and judge everything perfectly, so why not have a helper? Building a network of supportive people is one of the wisest things we could ever do in our lives. This can come from casual associates but the most impactful way to help us is to align with a mentor or coach.

As a matter of fact, it is very intelligent to have more than one advisor, for just like you, a single person is going to have their blind spots. This is not foreign to you. You likely have an accountant and they do not advise you on legal issues because you should also have a lawyer to lean on for that. What about a doctor for physical concerns? Do you have a good relationship with your banker? You should develop all these so that you are supported in areas that because of their studies and practices, they are more competent than you are.

The same goes for operations of our businesses and the way we lead our people. We can all use a little help, so I encourage you to build out this network of support for yourself. I don’t know how many times each year I hear from people that have become clients how they wish they had started sooner with our coaching relationship. That of course, is a great compliment for me to hear but it also highlights how we all can squander potential if we do not move toward participating with others that can help us with our blind spots. It truly is a great approach to being the one who’s driving.

JAY PERRY is the founder of Ally Business Coaching, a process improvement and leadership development firm, and co-author of the book Success Manifesto with Brian Tracy. Jay is also an education partner with California Coast University in Santa Ana, California. He can be reached at jayperryally@gmail.com.


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