top of page

Are You a Roomba® or a Battering Ram?

When a leader talks about “hitting a wall” in terms of a challenge, it’s generally taken that the wall is their stopping point where they can’t do anything else. They’re aggravated and feel helpless by this immovable obstacle that is preventing them from accomplishing all that they planned to.

That’s because they’re acting like a battering ram when they may want to observe how a Roomba®️ robot vacuum responds to a wall in front of it.

See, there’s no denying that the battering ram has a world of intent and purpose to get through the wall. So it just keeps hitting that wall through one and only one direction – over and over again. Maybe it will eventually break through but it’s going to take an awfully long time, if ever, before that happens.

Contrast this with the Roomba – what happens when this robot vacuum hits a wall near a tough spot that needs to be cleaned? Does it just keep battering away at it? No. It hits the wall where it is prevented from going any further. Then it bounces off and goes in another direction.

After all, the Roomba’s job isn’t to knock down a wall. Its job is to suck up dirt. So it’s going to keep doing its job, cleaning up the rest of the room. Does that mean it will forego that spot by the wall entirely and forever? No. It’s going to come back to that same spot, but from a different approach or angle that makes cleaning in that area just a bit easier than before.

Using this analogy for the business world, some leaders only know how to move in one direction with full force – the direction where they try to solve every problem on their own.

Others come to realize that there’s typically more than one angle to solving a problem. That’s where you’ll see some leaders enlist others in the company for their participation and feedback. A good example of this is one’s ability to be more self-aware by how others may perceive you. You may ask others, “How am I doing? What can I do better?” In doing so, you’re not applying the same solution to the same problem. You’ll see things through the lens of others, which can help give you a fresh perspective on how to make meaningful changes in yourself and the company.

View this exercise of asking others for their feedback as a positive experience. We tend to look at receiving feedback as a negative, expecting people will say nothing but detrimental things about us and what we can do better. That’s not always the case. Instead, in the course of learning how you’re doing and what you can do better, you may also be very surprised to learn that you have quite the positive impact on people.

It’s extremely difficult to get this kind of perspective by addressing problems within your own four walls. So as you’re trying to build greater levels of self-awareness, don’t approach it as a battering ram and think you are the only one who can possibly solve your own challenges. Identify the problem and pivot in a different direction that enlists others to help you face those challenges, such as feedback on several initiatives you’ve rolled out or an idea session on a new line of service you’re considering.

Success will always have obstacles in the path. Instead of trying to smash through them every time on your own like a battering ram, think about how a Roomba is just as unstoppable and more efficient by finding new directions to work around a dirty problem.

Another outstanding resource to enlist when you’re hitting a wall is the Leading With Courage Academy. Instead of trying to uncover the behaviors that may be hindering your team all by yourself, talk to us about how we can help deliver a series of powerful assessments that reveal your team’s greatest strengths as well as areas that demand improvement. It’s a measurable program made for everyone in the C-suite and emerging leaders too. To learn more, contact us at 312.827.2643 or email

Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
bottom of page