I recall seeing an old episode of I Love Lucy in which Lucy’s husband Ricky comes home to find Lucy crawling around on her hands and knees, searching for something in the family room. When he asks her what she’s doing, she replies that she’s looking for her earrings. “You lost your earrings in the living room?” He asks her. “No,” she replies. “I lost them in the bedroom, but the light is much better out here!”
There’s a valuable lesson to be learned from this whimsical scene: just because something is easier, that doesn’t mean that it is better. As a leader in your organization, it may be tempting to look for solutions where “the light is better.” In other words, you might want to only focus on the things you already know and the areas which you’ve already explored. Even if the problems or opportunities lie outside of that area, what’s the point in looking? It’s too dark to see, right?
The truth is that, if you are going to lead your organization to success, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time in the dark. Great leaders aren’t afraid to stick their necks out and find the problems where they are; they’re willing to brave the uncertainties and tread on uncharted terrain. If you want to stay the same, by all means, stay where you are. But if you want to move your organization forward and remain competitive into the future, you’ve got to be willing to push yourself outside your comfort zone. Success lies in the dark places that you have yet to shine a light on. Where are you looking for success?