Blinders are used in horse racing to keep a horse focused and avoid it from getting distracted.
Generally I would suggest that focus is a good thing, but having blinders on in the workplace is not necessarily a good thing.
I have to admit that when I was younger I would often be in a position where I thought I was doing a good job, I would do “what I was told’, but I would not apply my own thinking to a situation. It took a long time (I guess I’m a slow learner) for me to understand that my success was entirely within my own control … and had everything to do with taking charge of my own destiny.
A friend of mine has a theory that people are either “doers” or “thinkers” … that I find to be a good way to illustrate this concept.
A “doer” being someone who takes their instruction and executes on what they are told to do. A “thinker” being someone who applies their own intellect to the job.
There is a place in the workforce for both types of resource, however the “thinker” is the person who will rise up and become an important asset, the “doer” will always have a job, but will never light the world on fire.
Jack Welch in his book Winning would probably suggest that 70% of your staff would be the “doers” that you need to keep a company running. The “thinkers” have the opportunity to be that top 20% who drive the organization and are key to its success. A “thinker” with a great attitude will quickly rise to the top because, in my experience, that is a rare combination … but really there is no reason why more people cannot reach this status.
Here are some very basic thoughts on this subject:
1. Do not EVER just do what you are told without truly understanding why you are doing what you are doing.
2. Avoid the state of mind where you are on “automatic pilot”! ALWAYS be engaged!
3. Ask questions!
4. If you have ideas or suggestions speak up … a good manager will recognise that you are trying to bring value.
5. The more you understand the “big picture” the more value you will be able to bring to a given situation.
6. You will better understand the big picture by talking to management, asking questions and truly wanting to “learn”.
7. The “doer” is an important part of any company … if you have ambitions to be a leader you need to add “brainpower” to the equation and become a “thinker”!
What are you? Ask yourself these questions:
1. Do I come to management with solutions or with problems?
2. Do I try to understand the big picture?
3. Do I really try to think about the implications of my actions … or do I just do what I am told?
4. Is my goal to grow and learn … or just get through the day?
Are you someone who is earning a pay cheque … or someone who is going to make things happen?