This past week, I figured my 10-year-old son was old enough to participate in a tradition in place for years in my family: shouting out the answers to the Wheel of Fortune puzzles.
Yes, we are a wild and crazy bunch.
While we watched, I explained to my son that Vanna’s job is to turn the appropriate letters on the puzzle after contestants guess. My son promptly corrected me.
“Mom, Vanna doesn’t turn letters. She touches letters that light up.”
And so she does.
Back in the 80s, Vanna did indeed turn letters. (Anyone remember that?) Technology and time moved on, but my assumptions had not.
Since I speak regularly on breaking patterns in your thinking to lead to creative solutions, I was humbled (but not surprised) that I had fallen into the same pattern of assumptions that I preach against.
Even if I had known that Vanna’s job description had changed in 1997, I probably would have still used “turn” to describe what she does. It took a fresh voice looking at the situation for the first time to draw my attention to my mistake.
In leadership, do I embrace fresh voices telling me about my mistakes? Or do I justify and cling to the old way and the old terms? One path leads a future in this ever-evolving society. One leads to a dead-end with an “out-of-business” sign.
In order to assess and solve our issues today, we need to see situations as they really are, not as we assume them to be. We need to break patterns.
[tweetthis]What do Vanna White, leadership, and breaking patterns have in common?[/tweetthis]
What is possible in our businesses and on our teams when we stop applying yesterday’s stories to today’s issues?