Which Kind of Leader Are You – Focused on the Doughnut, or the Hole?

Article main image
Jan 30, 2014

Be honest.

Do you see the doughnut? Or the doughnut hole?

I see the hole. Definitely. Always have and probably always will. That’s who I am.

I happen to think that it makes me good at what I do, but others have disagreed. Whatever.

While I can see what’s there, I’m more intrigued with what’s not there.

Focused on the doughnut hole

In other words, I appreciate what’s working, but I’m motivated by what isn’t.

Now, my experience is that some of those who naturally focus on the doughnut often sometimes get a little impatient when someone like myself wants to talk about the hole. Here’s some of the objections they might state to this practice:

  • “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
  • Why so negative?”
  • Don’t go looking for trouble — you might find it.”
  • %^%&#%!?

If you’re happy munching on your doughnut, content to focus on the moment in the moment, I’m happy for you. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying your sweet treat.Fresh Donuts

But as for me, I enjoy thinking about what’ll happen when the treat is gone.

Will you have a stomach ache? Will you need to see the dentist? Will you discover, after buying that yummy-looking doughnut, that you have no money left for lunch?

Those are the questions that interest me.

Heading trouble off at the pass

Organizations, teams, or decision-making groups of any stripe need those who value the doughnut as well as those who enjoy sticking their fingers in the hole.

So stop being a naysayer about the supposed naysayers and just accept that sometimes it’s good to head trouble off at the pass.

Sometimes it’s good to plan how you’ll manage a possible conflict. And often it’s good to think ahead about potential roadblocks. And be thankful that there are those who are gifted at and delight in this type of thinking.

You say, “Nobody wants to work with someone who’s always poking holes in things.” And I say, “No, they don’t. But I’m not creating the hole. The hole is already there.”

It’s a fact. It’s an imperfect world, things don’t always go as planned, and people don’t always get along.

After all, if they did, YOU wouldn’t be making such a nuisance of yourself right now. Would you?