The One Eyed Man

It is often said that in the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king. 


In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man would probably be regarded as a raving lunatic. 

Imagine the conversation, “SEES THINGS?  What does he mean, he SEES THINGS?” 

Driving change can be very like the life of the one-eyed man, seeing things others can’t, and guiding them to a better place – even though they can’t see where they’re going, and probably don’t want to go there anyway. 

To be human, – so the Buddhists tell us – is a great privilege

Not because life is any safer, easier or less painful for humans – such things are illusory to a Buddhist – but because humans, uniquely, have the faculty of choice;

To choose well requires knowledge

Of the world,
Of its alternatives,
Of ourselves.

Now, if this all sounds a bit ‘West-Coast Weird’, consider:

The world is changing, fast – truths of which we were certain not so very long ago do not seem so secure in the post information revolution, post credit crunch, world; indeed, sometimes, in a world of growing populations and rapidly dwindling natural resources, they can seem positively dangerous. The established version of organizational strategy, with its grand narratives of conquest and exploitation, is inadequate to a world changing this fast.

It seems to be the case that accelerating change is to be the only constant in the future, so management choices can no longer be solely about ‘taking care of business’ – or managing the present – but must become the active creation of the internal value context. Creating the future by aligning organizational value with market (social) value.

Strategic management is (or should be) the adaptation powerhouse in any organization. Not about creating value directly, but having the vision to create the organizational conditions where value can be created. About extending your grasp to match your reach, and then reaching further again. Business as usual ensures that your strategies and plans for strategic change are failing you – and will continue to fail you into the future.

Here, finally, is the one-eye test; a bit like seeing those 3D dot pictures, it takes a little effort but, having made it work once, it becomes easier with practice.  You’ll need a piece of paper and a pen.

  1. Take a minute (take more if you want), imagine how it would feel in a world that is just, well, right.  No internal politics, no stupidities, no rules that seem designed specifically to stop you doing your job, no taxes (ok, not no taxes – we need some grip on reality).  Let yourself see it, experience it.  Good isn’t it?

Back to reality! 

  1. Now, and with things as they really are, if you and everybody else tried really hard, how close can you get? Write this as a percentage.
  2. Next, what fraction of figure (2) do you actually achieve? Write this figure as a decimal.
  3. Now multiply figure (2) by figure (3).
  4. Write figure (2) as a decimal (e.g., 75% becomes 0.75)
  5. Last, multiply figure (5) by figure (3).

I did say it would need some effort.

Now write the figures on your piece of paper like this:



Figures 3 and 5 give an indication of how well you are managing the delivery of you potential, and  of the extent of the change needed to achieve it respectively.

Figure (6) is a measure of how far you are achieving your potential, that is, how well you are using your one eye.