Eyes up versus eyes down.
Got any skiers out there? I love skiing, be it in the trees, moguls, or just plain groomers. When I’m in a run full of moguls, I’m not skiing the mogul directly under my skies (eyes down), I’m skiing 3 moguls ahead (eyes up). If I’m eyes down, I’m leaning back, burning my legs, skiing sloppy, and have to muscle my way through the line. When I’m eyes up and skiing 3 moguls ahead, I’m on my toes, skiing well, and naturally skiing a great line because I’m seeing ahead and know how to position myself for the best run. That’s the difference between eyes up versus eyes down, be it skiing or leadership – it makes your run easier, more enjoyable, and you just execute better!
I often use this analogy to guide perspective and mindset. My point is, are your eyes up, understanding the bigger picture, or eyes down and into your desk, not seeing ahead? That difference, which is common and understandable, easily happens when forgetting (or not even knowing) the ‘why’ behind an initiative, process, or daily tasks. Eyes down get’s you stuck in the minutia that jams you up, holds you back, and can just ruin your day…
Eyes up, and now you’re seeing beyond the little issues and understanding the ‘why’…all of a sudden, you’re not sweatin’ the small stuff as much. Don’t get me wrong, you need eyes down and into your desk on daily tasks, but don’t lose balance and vision by not picking your eyes up to see and thus understand what’s ahead. The eyes up perspective will lead to subconscious decision making, especially important when working with customers and service levels.
As a leader and manager, use this when working with your team when they’re hung up on smaller issues causing big problems in their perspectives. See my article, “Lead People, Manage Process.”
I use the eyes up versus eyes down analogy constantly to coach every day behaviors with my crew. It works, it makes sense, and it does make a difference…and after they’ve heard it, I simply just ask and remind them when they start drifting…“are your eyes up?”
Are your eyes up?
Go Forth and Succeed!