“When a target is missed it is a small opportunity to grow in that area, and a large opportunity to refocus on everything”

I apologize in advance if you are not into the outdoors/hunting – no offense is intended by the example given.  Hunting is something I have been doing since I could walk and it is how my father and brother have spent most of our time together over the years.   The tradition continues and a specific occurrence was my inspiration for this post.

A couple of weeks ago I was deer hunting and I had the opportunity to take one of the largest deer I have ever seen.   I had prepared for the 2-3 minute moment by spending countless hours scouting, locating, and hunting the particular spot where this occurred.   It was a good spot and I knew it.   I had climbed the tree well before daylight and was ready.  At 7:30 a.m., I looked up from my phone (yes, I was doing some email) and noticed a small tree moving, yet there was no wind.   I put my scope on it and realized it was a very large deer and he was rubbing his horns against this small tree.   So now my pulse kicks up a few notches and I wait for an opportunity.   He steps into a clearing and I take my shot.   To my amazement, he runs off 40 yards and stops.  I take another shot – he runs again.  A few minutes later, I text my brother and dad that I believe I missed one of the biggest deer of my life, and to come help me take a look.  I MISSED……TWICE.

It had been over 10 years since I missed a shot, and even longer since I had the lingering/can’t stop thinking about it, sick feeling of missing the opportunity to take a large deer.   Therefore, doing what I do, I started pouring over what happened or didn’t happen.  My mistake was being to focused on doing email (many hunters are guilty of letting access to their phone ruin the outdoor experience) and not noticing the deer that had to have walked 20 yards in the wide open before being behind that tree when I finally took notice.   And while I got a clear shot, it was the only one I was going to have, which made me nervous and caused a rushed shot.  In short, I got distracted, did not execute, and wasted all of the prep time.

Although it made me sick (I still think about it – alot), in the grand scheme of things, this miss was small.   What it has done is made me reflect and apply that thinking to everything else I am focused on in life.   I don’t want to miss again anytime soon, therefore it made me pull out the annual goals list and see where we are and start drilling into how we are executing and burning through any distractions.

All of us have recent misses.  Take the opportunity on the small ones to beat yourself up a bit, grow from it, and decrease the risk of missing something much larger.

“Validate the conflict before over-reacting and being the cause of more conflict”

Leaders are faced with conflict on a daily basis.   We typically hear of conflict from another source, who has their own perception of the situation that is typically charged with emotion.   A key part of our role is to immediately start validating and during that process we must remove the emotion that may have come with the initial discovery.  We must gather the facts and start to understand the real impacts before charging forward with a resolution.  Doing so will help avoid all of the side effects (more conflict) that arise out of acting on the initial opinions of others, who have not taken the time to fully understand the situation or had the capability to control their own emotions.

In summary, when others freak out, never follow suit – only bad things happen when we do not react responsibly.  Stay calm, be positive, find facts, diagnose, and resolve in a way that makes the organization and people better than they were before the situation occurred.