Mental Telepathy

September 7th, 2010

Inevitably whenever I’m watching a sports event on television, I’ll make a comment at a critical moment and the announcer immediately repeats it. Last night, just before Boise State went on its BCS-saving last-minute touchdown drive, I started singing, “Felix the cat, the wonderful wonderful cat… whenever he gets in a fix, he reaches into his bag of tricks.” Within five seconds, Kirk Herbstreit said, “I wonder if the Broncos will reach into their bag of tricks?” My son laughed and said: “Do you have a microphone directly into their headsets?” My response: “I spent 15 years producing those games and the last 15 watching them as a fan, so I sort of know what they’re thinking.”

College football is my passion. Amidst mowing the lawn, cleaning the garage, doing ‘Zen and the art of automobile maintenance’ on our 10-year-old Camry, swimming and enjoying quality family togetherness this Labor Day weekend, I found time to watch ‘College Game Day’ and five football games. That’s a lot of moments to figure out what’s going on and where the announcers will take things.

The opportunity here in business is to climb into the heads of your customers (both internal and external ones) – and fully understand situations from their perspectives. Too often, leaders are so caught up in how you personally see things that you fail to consider what the view looks like from the other side of the table, or counter, or phone line, or desk. Yet stepping outside your own narrow scope opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Try it – let go of your bias – and you’ll discover the ability to anticipate what’s coming next. It’s a winning strategy in any game.

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