Ban All Mirrors!


We handed out our traditional Christmas gifts to the contracted cleaning crew today. Nothing special, just some home made cookies my wife worked on for several days. One of the ladies, now a regular we have come to know and appreciate, made some funny statement like “Great, that’s all I need is some more pounds!” We all laughed.  She explained she walked by a mirror in her house the other day and her reflection shocked her. My response – “Ban all mirrors! That would solve the problem!”

The Real Problem – Not Enough Mirrors.

In truth, we don’t have enough mirrors in our lives. In business, we become so focused on the next deal, the next deadline, the next pay period, the next ….. OK you pick. We lose sight of our reflection in the mirror.  We don’t even bother to look most times.

Mind you, everyone else still sees us. Our employees. Our family. Our friends. Our Vendors. Our clients.  They don’t see us as a reflection in the mirror.  They have the luxury of simply watching us in our daily struggle to focus on the next thing.

Difficult Solution – Put up more Mirrors!

The strategy is simple, create an accountability network.  The tactic is difficult to implement.  There is a reason why peer accountability groups work.  Left to ourselves, we are our own worst enemies.  Finding a peer to trust is hard enough, finding someone you look up to is very bold.

Customer Service Mirror – find someone, maybe a trusted client, and review your company’s performance.  What’s working, what’s not.  What are they seeing your competitors doing.  What do they wish you would do

Leadership Mirror – are you creating bold audacious goals for you and your teams?  Who is reviewing them with you before you make your presentations.    Who is raising the bar, making you think of options outside your comfort zone?  Who laughs at you when you come up with a real stinker but you think it the next revolutionary idea?

Management Mirror – who is helping you improve you systems, processes, and staff?  Who’s helping you develop a performance model that fits your team’s talents and abilities?

For the sake of this post leadership and management are defined this way.  If a ladder was leaning against a wall, management would be focused on the most efficient and productive use of that ladder where it stands, leadership would be responsible for making sure it’s leaning on the right wall.

Social Media Mirror – it’s not just the people around you any more folks.  As Matt Hames states in his Web 2.0 posts, now it’s also your digital presence that is being looked at.  What you do on the internet, but also equally important, what is said about you on the internet becomes the new dimension to the mirror’s reflection.  Do you have someone helping you with your global perception?

Conclusion

Wow, all this from a bunch of home made cookies for Christmas.  I hope this post has a longer lasting quality then my wife’s baked goods.

I hope in the future when you walk by one of the mirrors in your life you are not shocked by what you see.  And I hope, for your sake, that it’s not too late to correct what you see.

Good Hunting,

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  1. #1 by David on December 20, 2008 - 7:28 pm

    Excellent Points Tim. I think as business people we also need a personal accountability mentor who will help us keep our personal lives in check. Someone who helps us keep our work-life balance even keeled as a leader. Are we setting aside proper time for family, physical fitness, and rest? It is all fine to always be assessing the business angle (and that is important), but if our personal lives are not healthy our business lives will ultimately suffer in the long run.

    Here’s to a healthy ’09!

  2. #2 by Tim Rueb on December 22, 2008 - 11:14 am

    David,

    Great point. I know this is an area in which I struggle at times, especially when times are lean. I tend to overcompensate in one direction or another, so I completely agree with your comment.

    Thanks.

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