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Pre-New Year's resolutions: base new action on a closer look

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Although I continually complain that particularly in the business world – in training and practice – regardless of the talk, there is little change. Sometimes, I am wrong; I need to take a closer look at specific situations. I recommend you do the same – even of those things of which you are very familiar, even in your personal life.

Overlooking things that are close can happen. Let me give you an example.

I have a piano that is over 100 years old. I have had this instrument over 40 years. In that time, I have spent hundreds of hours playing it. The other day, I decided it needed to be cleaned. The edge of most keys was dirty. I assumed that was the result of deteriorating ivory. However, as I began cleaning those areas, I realized the reason for the dirt was paint.

On the edges of most keys was a strip of white paint. It very closely matched the ivory. A little scraping revealed complete, unworn key surfaces. How long had the paint been there? How many times had I cleaned those keys without noticing the paint? Perhaps, it had been there for my 40 years and more. What is the point?

If you are an MBA teacher, how closely have you examined what you teach and how you teach it, and compared it with what really needs to be in tomorrow’s business leaders?

If you are a business leader, how closely have you examined the potential of those who work for you? How closely have you examined your personal practices, and your reasons for them?

Although, I recommend standing back and looking at your practices, I suggest you also take a very close look. Sometimes, we accept what could and should be changed, even if it is in plain sight and under our very nose – even if we have used it for 40 years.

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