Platforms and Pitfalls


I’m not really much of a gamer; my history with Activision and Atari 2600 gaming systems will either date me or render me seriously retro-cool. One of my favorite video games of all time, however, was Pitfall.

In Pitfall, the player was a jungle explorer-type of character attempting to navigate around, over and through various challenges, not unlike Indiana Jones – swamps with crocs, swinging vines, crushing boulders, etc. The objective was to collect treasure along the way and not get killed.

The game was played from a third-person perspective, which I always appreciated. Compared to today’s amazing graphics and first-person point-of-view gaming, I could witness my entire performance from the third-person perspective. I could easily see if I was on firm ground or if I was about plunge to my one of three untimely deaths into a Pitfall!

Don’t you wish you had this type of visibility of your own performance as a leader? Imagine if you could see the inevitable pitfalls ahead; you could avoid poor performance. Equally valuable, imagine if you could clearly see when you were safely on firm ground.

That visibility and ability to see the pitfalls, however, would not necessarily serve us well as leaders. If we could step onto a platform and see outside ourselves, we run the risk of relying too much on ego, engaging in protectionism through being perfect, and managing our image or distancing ourselves through arrogance (and if you bristled at that word, you may want to take a closer look!) and reactive tendencies.

Transformational leaders stay grounded – they stay where their feet are – not relying on platforms and still navigating pitfalls well. They have the pivotal conversations that may otherwise go missing or remain avoided, and they practice sincere vulnerability. While there is a human case to advocate for here – you and your people will feel better through increased trust and engagement – there is also a business case of lower costs due to lessened politicking, navigating fear and anxiety, and errors and time waste.

Leaders who tap into their creative competencies learn the dynamics of relating and achieving by scaling their leadership through their own development and the development of their teams – which then ripples excellence and high performance through their organizations and into their communities. Sounds nice? Sounds too pie-in-the sky? It IS nice, and it’s completely attainable.

If you are interested in avoiding the Pitfalls and Platforms of leadership and want to scale your own leadership, start here.  Then give me a call, send me an email or reach out through our website at so we can make an impact in your leadership and organization.

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