A Rear View Mirror

is a must for every leader!

We all know how mothers trick us when we’re kids into thinking they have eyes in the back of their head. Who hasn’t been caught reaching across the back seat in the car on a long ride to bother a sibling in one way or another when your mother, from up front tells you stop whatever it was you were about to do? You hadn’t even done it yet, and you know your mother never turned her head. How did she even know? The secret, of course was the rear view mirror. 

While moving forward, focusing on the road ahead, that handy gadget enables us to keep track of what’s going on behind us. That’s vital for leaders. Often leaders tend to be visionaries, seeing the shape of things to come long before many of the rest of us. That’s fine. That’s how progress is made. If a leader gets too far ahead, though, they take the risk of losing sight of what’s happening in the metaphoric back seat.

Sometimes economic forecasters, even with sophisticated means of analysis forget to look in their rear view mirror. The U.S. economy’s growth grew more slowly than expected this last quarter (4th). Surprise! surprise! The housing market has been slipping. “The fresh look at the housing market was sobering. New-home sales plummeted by 16.6 percent in January from the previous month. That was the largest decline since January 1994, when sales slid by 23.8 percent.”
Well, ask the homeowners and realtors, and they could have told you that was happening. But, the economists were looking too far down the road.

If you’re interested, this AP article by Jeanine Aversa ofers a good view into the economic rear view mirror. Forecasters – weather or economic can only do so much. Leaders are smart to listen to the advice, as long as they remember to take a glance in the rear view mirror now and then. And, then adjust their journey to the stiuation accordingly – as in the case of the economy.

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