How Leaders Must View Opportunity

May 4 16:28 2013 Kevin Eikenberry Print This Article

As leaders, it is imperative that we are vigilant for opportunities – that is part of our role as a leader. And I believe there are three things we must do to ensure that we utilize opportunities to lead people towards our vision. Read on to find out.

124 years today,Guest Posting something amazing and historic happened. The United States government made about 2 million acres of public land in Oklahoma available to homestead.
Here’s how it worked.Oklahoma Land Rush
Starting at noon April 22, 1889, legal settlers could claim lots up to 160 acres. If the settler lived on the land and improved it, they could then receive title to the land.
Talk about opportunity!
If you were a U.S. resident and wanted to own property, this was a clear and obvious opportunity. 50,000 people must have thought so, because that is how many stormed across the plains to stake a claim on that day.
Most opportunities around us as leaders today aren’t quite that obvious, though the implications and benefits could be as big or bigger for ourselves, our teams and our organizations.
But make no mistake – as leaders we must be vigilant for opportunities – that is part of our role as a leader. If that is true, what do we as leaders need to know about opportunity?
I believe there are three things we must do to ensure that we utilize opportunities to lead people towards our vision. We must:
    See opportunities.    Seize opportunities.    Create opportunities.
Let’s discuss each.
Seeing Opportunities
As I said before, most won’t be as obvious as the Oklahoma Land Rush, but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. We can see opportunities by:
    Knowing our end goal. When our vision is crystal clear we will see things that move us towards that goal more easily.    Reading widely. Knowing what is going on in the world around you will help you see opportunities.    Focusing on looking. Operating with a belief that opportunities will be found, makes finding them easier.    Putting the whole team on the look-out. Give everyone the goal and expectation to be looking improves your chances. Remember more eyes=better vision.
Seizing Opportunities
It isn’t enough to see opportunities. If you knew the Land Rush was coming but didn’t get to the border on April 21, the opportunity was of no value to you. So once we see opportunities, how do we seize them?
    Keeping the big picture in mind. Opportunities sometimes arrive when we are “too busy”. With a different perspective, different decisions might be made.    Putting in extra effort. Opportunity has been famously described as “arriving in working clothes.” When that is true, seizing opportunity might mean some extra work; but work that could be well worth it.
Creating Opportunities
If you already lived in Oklahoma, already had a homestead, was the opportunity lost for you? Maybe not. Read this small snippet from a piece in Harpers Weekly May 18, 1889.
“In some respects the recent settlement of Oklahoma was the most remarkable thing of the present century. Unlike Rome, the city of Guthrie was built in a day. To be strictly accurate in the matter, it might be said that it was built in an afternoon. At twelve o'clock on Monday, April 22d, the resident population of Guthrie was nothing; before sundown it was at least ten thousand. In that time streets had been laid out, town lots staked off, and steps taken toward the formation of a municipal government. At twilight the camp-fires of ten thousand people gleamed on the grassy slopes of the Cimarron Valley, where, the night before, the coyote, the gray wolf, and the deer had roamed undisturbed. Never before in the history of the West has so large a number of people been concentrated in one place in so short a time.”
Were there opportunities for those who settled in Guthrie, and did a myriad of opportunities arise with this massive change?
Without question, for those who were looking. (If you read the rest of the article, you will see other ways, legal and not so, that opportunities were created by this event.)  How do you create opportunities?
    Doing the steps above. Doing those things may help you uncover new opportunities, especially when you also are . . .    Building relationships with others. Let other groups, teams, vendors and colleagues know what you are trying to accomplish. When the network is broad, new opportunities can be created through this synergy.    Finding new partnerships. Sometimes seizing and creating opportunities require more resources than you have – so go out and find those partnerships to create the future you desire.
You won’t find a land rush in front of you today – but you may find even bigger and more exciting opportunities. And it all starts with how you view opportunity and the actions you take. Hopefully this post gives you a place to start.

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About Article Author

Kevin Eikenberry
Kevin Eikenberry

Kevin is a bestselling author, speaker, trainer, consultant and the Chief Potential Officer of the Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services and receive your free special report on Unleashing Your Potential by going to"> or call us at (317) 387-1424 or 888.LEARNER.

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