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I Need a New Perspective (#17)

The Confident Leader

I was on a hike with fellow board members for the summer camp of my youth. Our only visibility amid the tree-lined trail was the pathway immediately before us. Once we reached the top… our whole perspective changed.

Life is about perspective and how you look at something… ultimately, you have to zoom out.
— Witney Wolfe Herd, Founder and CEO of Bumble

This Week’s Edition

PERSPECTIVE: I can’t see the forest for the trees.  The strategic for the tactical. The solution for the problems. The potential for the obstacles.

Clarify Your Thinking

The hike arranged by our camp director, was memorable for many reasons. As a life-long leader, Mary Helen Franko was a master at helping others find solutions by asking questions to elicit the illuminating power of one’s own personal revelation.


At each stop along our hike, she asked a question around the future of camp, a theme we as a board had wrestled with as part of our strategic planning process. The problem: our thinking about the future had hit a dead-end, unsuccessful at solving the camp’s current dilemmas or unlocking its future potential. We began to doubt our leadership.


The physical nature of the climb, the tightness of the path, the challenge of the questions left each of us thoroughly spent. Then, we reached the peak. We could see for miles, the sky blending into the horizon, the Brazos River snaking through the landscape right by our beloved camp below.


Then she hit us with her last question, “What will camp be like when I am not here?” We had not previously contemplated her departure. While sad about that eventual reality, this new information changed our perspective as dramatically as when we emerged atop the peak. Almost immediately we thought differently about the camp’s future and ultimate potential.


post pandemic vision

Thoughts Lead to Actions

Sometimes leaders get stuck on an issue and no additional leadership thinking seems to help. Often, it takes someone else or something else (like a hike) to change our perspective and get us unstuck. So, how do we do this? A 2018 HBR article offers some perspective.

Lengthen your perspective. Usually your leadership situation is temporary. This too shall pass. Lengthen your time horizon to put the current situation into perspective. Get out from behind your computer. Go to a high place. Get some distance from the challenge of today. Magically, it will take its proper place in the horizon of tomorrow.

Broaden our perspective. We love to be right about our way of thinking. Yet, our way is just one way of seeing any given situation. Seek out other facets of the same situation by soliciting differing points of view from others. Seek wise counsel to see more broadly.  

Deepen our perspective. Once you see your situation more broadly, ideas of what to do emerge more abundantly. Often these new ideas require learning new things. Go deep. Get good at what you are supposed to be good at. Know it from the inside out… at a deeper level.

As a board, we took a long-term approach to our strategic planning – casting a five-year vision for 2020. Based on our growth goals we enlisted the counsel of many experts. This led to a capital campaign, new cabins, record breaking scholarship funds and leadership succession planning. Lengthen. Broaden. Deepen.

Boost Your Performance

When circumstances change, what was once familiar becomes a new opportunity to change your perspective and enhance your performance.

Find out how a small business owner changed his perspective on what he used to see just outside his front door that ended up saving his business during the pandemic.

What’s Your Opinion?

Share with me your best practice for changing your perspective when you are stuck.

Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

robin pou, chief advisor and strategist

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

If this was helpful, feel free to share it with another leader who needs to defeat doubt and complete their confidence.

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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.

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