Ryan, the good looking middle-aged executive that everyone loves is in a tragic car accident, and when awakens from a brief coma, the worst has occurred.  He has amnesia!  He can’t remember anyone or anything at all.  Suddenly he is beginning life new, with no clue about the people he knows or the strategies that have made him who he is . . .

Ryan is a make-believe person, and the story is ripped from soap opera television (any show, most weeks I’m told).  In the past when people would tell me of television story lines like this, I always thought, “I don’t know anyone who as ever really had amnesia.”

That isn’t how I feel anymore.

Now I realize that we all suffer from amnesia, and it affects our performance and results every day. Yes, we remember the names of the important people in our lives and the way to work and our address, but we forget all sorts of important things all the time.

The things we forget are tools and techniques that affect our leadership skills.  We walk through our day not doing things we know work; in effect operating as if we have amnesia related to the activities that lead to effective leadership.

There are many ways we can cure this unnoticed amnesia but, like any affliction, we can’t cure it until it has been diagnosed.  We can diagnose it with a 360 assessment.  A 360 assessment can provide clues and pointers to show us and remind us of our blind spots.  I have never coached someone on a 360 assessment where there wasn’t at least one thing that the person felt they “knew was important” but just wasn’t doing – a classic case of leadership amnesia!

Once diagnosed, the cure can come from executive coaching, or any coaching and mentoring process, as well as personal reflection and being on an ongoing learning path.

Ryan’s amnesia was catastrophic, while ours is much less evident.  And yet, when we diagnose and understand our personal case, we can begin the long and beneficial road to recovery.

Pick one technique, tool or idea that you know works but haven’t done lately (for whatever reason).  Notice the results you get.

And smile knowing that you are on the road to recovery from leadership amnesia.

Kevin Eikenberry is a author, speaker, trainer, consultant, and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group (http://KevinEikenberry.com).  His new book, co-authored with Guy Harris, From Bud to Boss – Secrets to a Successful Transition to Remarkable Leadership (http://FromBudtoBoss.com) publishes on February 15th and the Free Bud to Boss Community (http://BudtoBossCommunity.com) is open and available now!

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  • Dave

    I like the post as always. One of the things that came to mind when I read your blog is that isn’t one part of leadership is to have “selective amnesia” when it comes to your people? That is to say that you would like to “forget” the flob ups and remember the positive accomplishments. I would think that this approach would apply to other avenues in life (friends and family), but would be certainly helpful in the leadership realm. Thanks for your words of encouragement to try an approach that we have not done lately. I will let you know how it turns out 🙂