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Leading Ideas: Push Against Your Edge

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922 – ) A client of mine uses the idea of an “edge” to set targets with his sales team. It’s essentially stretch goals – with an added layer. Once they set the stretch goal, he asks them to think about what edge he/she will bump up against trying to reach it – i.e. where will he/she falter? The conversation (which is documented) is respectful, open, and honest.

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922 – )

A client of mine uses the idea of an “edge” to set targets with his sales team. It’s essentially stretch goals – with an added layer. Once they set the stretch goal, he asks them to think about what edge he/she will bump up against trying to reach it – i.e. where will he/she falter? The conversation (which is documented) is respectful, open, and honest. As such, it provides a powerful accountability structure to design new actions and help the sales people get better. “It was a slow process to start a couple years ago,” he admits. “No one was used to it. But now I couldn’t imagine managing the sales team without it. It’s really opened up our communication.”

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Consider This:

Your center is where you feel comfortable. Your edge is where you feel uncertain. You spend every day somewhere in between the two. If you want to grow and develop, spend more days pushing against your edge. More days left of center. More days trying new things. More days taking risks. Risk is ultimately what drives success, but more importantly it’s what makes your life fun and interesting.

Try This:

1. What’s your edge? What challenges do you routinely shy away from?
2. Why do you shy away from them?
3. If you took more action, what good things do you think would happen?
4. If you took more action, what bad things do you think would happen?
5. When you compare the 2 lists, does one outweigh the other? (hint: the good list often far outweighs the bad)
6. Your edge is never as scary up close as it looks from a distance.