Leaders read between the lines. I always hated that saying, “reading between the lines.” It reminds of when a local news station here in Seattle decided to do “news out of the box” and had their anchors wandering around the studio delivering the news instead of keeping them sat behind a large table as is custom. Reading between the lines, as I am referring to it, is not just changing the window dressing and calling it innovation. Rather, it’s a nod to the work that leaders must do to keep the organization a long-term going concern. We must see what is happening, and then see behind what is happening. Thinking about opening a new retail location? Well, then you are looking at new locations and trying to see beyond the market data to reveal the story the data is telling. Thinking about hiring more help? Then you need to see beyond your current work load and envision the work that has yet to materialize. This might sound like sexy leader work, but it’s fraught. Often, your story will be wrong somehow, or wrong altogether. Likely you will be calling audibles as you go. Don’t get discouraged! Continue to hone the craft of reading between the lines. You might be as wrong as news out of the box, but it’s the work we need you to do.
Future leader speaker and author of the book Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future. Free stuff! Get the first five chapters of my new book, an executive summary, and the Future Leader Companion Workbook here.