Alarming news: “On your next flight your plane will be on target – it will have its nose directly in line with your destination – less than 5% of the time,” a participant recently shared.


Even with a clear vision, strong execution and determination, there will be moments when we are not on target. How leaders respond in such moments determines their results.


Here’s the elephant in the office:

Some people spend hours focusing on, ridiculing and criticizing those who are off target. Somehow, these bosses believe that by making people feel bad, stupid or incompetent, that off-target people will respond in a healthy way.


Yet, how excited do you get about changing when you feel like gum on the sole of a shoe? This approach exacerbates errors. Conversely, people change when they feel good about themselves.




Imagine if every time your flight was off course you went to the cockpit and yelled, “Hey pilot, you’re an idiot! We’re off course. You’re not flying this tin can the right way!” This seems ludicrous. Yet, have you observed others who use this approach when giving others feedback?


This doesn’t mean we should tolerate being “off target.” The key is: As a leader, how quickly can you get yourself and others back on target? Two course-correcting steps achieve this:


1. Provide a statement of affirmation that builds confidence. For example, “It’s clear you are passionate about delivering excellence.”


2. Ask a question that allows the pilot to self-correct. “What will be your next steps to ensuring greater quality?” Or, “What does your completed objective look like now?”


We go in the direction of our focus. Today, help two people course correct: another person – and yourself.


Where will you lead – where will you stomp elephants today?


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