One of the little things that may make all the difference in terms of sorting the winners from the losers in today's global business climate is a leaders' ability to 'read between the lines'.
That is, can the individual leader look at a checklist and see what's not written on paper? Can they sort through a job candidate's resume and interview to determine what's not being said? And can the boss sort through mounds of data, risk analyses and competitive reports to see what's missing?
Seeing what's already apparent to even the casual observer is easy. But thinking about a business challenge from a new frame of mind and seeing the influences on markets, consumers and organisations that others don't is becoming a vital skill for senior management.
Often, as many business leaders will attest, the most interesting thing that comes from an important business meeting is what's not said. So, too, today's culture of information overload may distract leaders from what's essential.
That's why a demonstrated ability to see clearly through the haze of economic uncertainty and beyond the typical data dump that precedes big decisions is a critical competency of senior leadership.
Understanding all the influences on a business decision is key, but seeing the potential of that same decision requires an unprecedented level of business savvy about what's not being said, what's not immediately apparent, and the potential customers and partners a company doesn't already know.
In the world of TMI (too much information), the best leaders appreciate that too little information about the unknown, the uncertain, what's really possible and how to get there can stifle innovation and fail to connect the enterprise to what it can achieve.