Blind Spot # 3 – Over Reliance On What Has Worked In The Past

Leaving behind what has worked in the past is a very difficult shift for most leaders to make. It is akin to saying goodbye to old friends and relationships that one has outgrown. It is not only cognitively difficult, because those “pathways” added value in the past, but also emotionally draining as one comes to rely on them, and feel a sense of loyalty closeness and familiarity towards them that is difficult to replace. Competencies required for the next-level leaders are new, unfamiliar and uncomfortable.  Practicing these competencies will initially make the leader feel less in control and less competent. However, the “learning mindset” calls for leaders to stretch themselves into new opportunities and exercise new skills that require patience and diligent practice before they become second nature. In her seminal book “Mindset- The New Psychology of Success,” Carol Dweck depicts the differences between the “fixed” and the “learning” mindsets. She describes how stretching into learning may mean that short term performance may temporarily deteriorate—like Tiger Woods changing his swing slightly. However, if one is patient and goes through the learning journey, performance is disproportionately improved. Next-level skills usually include higher levels of emotional and social intelligence and influencing skills. In addition, next-level leaders have to be increasingly more comfortable with ambiguity and relying on others to make decisions and lead. At higher levels in the organization, leaders are often asked to manage businesses that they are less familiar with and the abilities to trust, teach, and delegate are vital to success.  This implies that the leader allocates more of his or her focus to coaching and developing others.


About Kaveh Naficy
Kaveh is the leader of Heidrick and Struggles executive coaching practice in North America. Kaveh focuses on working with leaders placed to make transformational and creative changes in their organizations. Kaveh has a proven record of success in harnessing the strengths of these leaders to achieve accelerated business solutions. He is able to create significant insights through reflective thinking, presence, and disciplined follow-through. Executives who have worked with Kaveh say that his strengths are his deep insights into the realities of the current and future business world, accelerated scanning of the environment and competition; creative out of the box thinking, and leveraging the collective intelligence of their teams and creating the organizational culture to support and foster the appropriate organizational design and strategies. They also point their deep trust and personal connectivity with Kaveh, his coaching approach, and style.

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