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Our Only Limits are the Ones We Fail to See

I can see the future, and tell you how to get there, but the second you want to talk about the best approach to take that first step, you've lost me. I am a visionary. I cannot look at a building, community or human being without seeing dozens of eventualities. It's a neat party trick for sure, but I learned very early in life that the idea is nothing without the reality.

Have you ever seen a new gadget in a store, and thought, "Hey! I thought of that 3 years ago! I should have pursued that!" I think we all have...and we may even feel a little self-congratulatory that our idea was actually valid, and we had the foresight to think of it. The reality, however, is that people have absolutely brilliant ideas every day, but most of them don't or can't do anything beyond that. What gives life and legs and substance to these ideas, are the little steps and details that separate the idea, from the reality.

The LMC Group recently launched MBTI personality testing services, and since we are in the habit of eating our own cooking, we tried the testing process out on ourselves first, facilitated by Stephanie Carnes, resident certified MBTI Maven.

As someone who processes intuitively, as my strongest favored function, I was informed by Stephanie that intuiting people may think sensing people are unimaginative when they ask practical questions. As it so happens, she was reviewing this with me and one of my clients who favors the sensing function the strongest. He took the opportunity to re-read the sentence, entering our names to make sure the point hit home: Kristen may think that Shmoey (name altered to protect the innocent) is unimaginative when Shmoey asks Kristen practical questions.

We had a great laugh, because that sentence mirrored at least one component of every strategic meeting we've had in the years we've been working together. It's not that I'm unaware that practical questions are extremely important; it's that the way my process works is that we build a road map with possibilities leading to the sky, and only until the vision is fully formed, do we bring in the people and details who make these dreams come true, through these practical steps.

As an executive coach and a management consultant, it doesn't matter if I see the vision, if the team I'm working with is still wondering how water is going to reach the sky. There is no right or wrong way to look at problems, unless it is in a box, and neither approach is incorrect. The very best teams are the most diverse teams, with common values.

Even though I have been in this line of work for a long time, this aha moment caused me to realize that I need to build in the details those I'm working with need, or the vision will be lost in the questions and mental objections. It's not that I can't wrap my mind around the details, it's just that I didn't, because that wasn't part of my process. I have always surrounded myself with people who love the devil of the details, and they are responsible for every success I've had.

Since our meeting, I've made it a focus to embrace the practical and the seemingly tedious, and I am growing as a leader and as a partner to my clients as a result. Our core skills and inclinations are just the starting point - a point best verbalized by Albert Einstein:

Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.

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