Give it to Zidane

In 2004, a popular defender from the French National soccer team shared this thought: “When we don’t know what to do, we just give the ball to Zizou (Zinedine Zidane) and he works something out.’

Around this same time, I was taking advantage of a personal training session that was offered as a part of a new gym membership I had acquired.  With no money to spend on additional sessions, I asked my trainer for any tips he could provide.  He simply stated ‘Look at the people in the gym that you want to look like, and do what they’re doing.’

A similar theme runs through both of these examples.   When you’re feeling stuck,  look for those who have proven success, emulate their approach and seek out their help.

This carries over into our professional lives as well. As we progress in our careers, the problems that land on our desk become increasingly complex.  There is less precedent on how to solve these problems and decisions have to be made quickly.  We can thank the evolution of technology and (mass) amounts of data for creating so many new insights and through these insights, many more opportunities to solve.

I’ve found that in every organization, there are individuals people gravitate to when struggling to find an answer.  These individuals have sound reputations which are driven by three key attributes.

First, they are approachable and show a deep respect for the individual.  Second, they ask insightful questions to understand the true nature of a problem before providing advice or guidance.  Third, they are balanced in decision making and use a mix of intuition, experience and data to make the best decision possible.

These individuals are ‘intellectually present’ in every meeting and 1×1 discussion.  They are focused on the conversation, curious and rarely pull out their mobile (also a great sign of respect for those in the room).

One other attribute they exhibit is vision.  They evaluate how seemingly simple decisions will impact other areas of the organization and their organizations customers.  In a word, they are selfless.

It’s important to know these people.   I have found them in my current organization and frequently seek out their counsel and pattern their way of thinking. Others are now coming to me for similar guidance, which affords a wonderful opportunity to pay this learning forward.

These leaders teach us more than any on line course or corporate development session. They also teach us perspective.  It is this focus on perspective which will be the theme of my next post.

Find the Zidane(s) within your organization and when stuck, seek out their help.

Great things will happen!

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