Have You Earned the Right to Lead Your Organization in 2019?
This question should make you slightly uncomfortable regardless of how well you ended the year. That’s because high performers always have some small measure of self-doubt in the back of their mind. This niggling voice is important—it serves as a self-check on our successes and helps to ground us. (Be careful, though. Feeding the voice of self-doubt too much—or too often—may compromise your effectiveness as a leader.)
The Voice of Reason
That inquiring voice beckons you to objectively take stock of both your personal life and professional life, which are inseparable. This year, instead of writing resolutions, I encourage you to ask yourself questions to facilitate an honest reflection of what has been and what’s yet to come.
Below are five steps that will help you assess and answer the big question asked by this article. To better assist you, I’ve also prepared a downloadable guide to walk you through the objective, reflective questions we’ll discuss in steps 1-3.
Step 1. Reflections.
Using Page 1 of the guide, consider the following questions:
- What did I do for myself last year?
- What personal relationships did I enrich, strengthen or create?
- What did I accomplish that makes me most proud?
- What role did I play in developing one of my direct reports? How did they develop?
- What did I do to develop myself and how did I develop?
Step 2. Vision.
Using Page 2 of the guide, ask yourself:
- What is my personal vision?
- What is my professional vision?
- What is my vision for the organization?
Be as detailed as you want with your answers, but do not use more than one page.
Step 3. Chart Your Actions.
Step 3 comes in three parts.
First, review your answers from steps 1 and 2. What commonality, if any, exists between your reflections from the prior year and your personal, professional, and organizational vision for the new year? Briefly make note of those similarities at the top of the page.
Second, ask yourself this question: What actions or steps must I take to achieve my personal, professional, and organizational vision for 2019? List these in the space provided.
Finally, if you listed five or more items, circle your top five. These are the most important actions you should take in the new year, and they should ideally be a mixture of personal, professional, and organizational priorities.
Step 4. Monitor, Track, and Adjust
What tracking format suits you best? There are many out there to choose from, and I am reluctant to impose a format on you. The key is to choose one and stick with it. Here are three popular methods:
- Bullet journaling
- Technology solutions (such as those on this list of 11 tools)
- Basic spreadsheet – Consider creating one with the following headings:
|Category||Goal||Start Date||Planned Completion Date||Actual Completion Date||Accountability Partner|
Step 5. Accountability
If you’ve completed steps 1-4, pay close attention to step 5 because this is where most people fail. Humans are horrible at holding each other accountable, and we’re even worse when that person is the one staring at us in the mirror each morning.
An Accountability Partner is the only way to ensure that you stay on track and focused. A good partner will provide you with an impartial perspective. Here are three ways to find the best possible Accountability Partner.
- Join a Vistage group. – As a Vistage Chair, I’m partial to the power of a peer advisory group like Vistage, yet this not the only path.
- Call me. If you’d like someone to help review the work you’ve done and keep you on track, call me at 717.571.4609 or email me. I’m happy to be the unbiased partner you’re looking for.
- Choose a Partner. I encourage you to read the article titled 5 Tips for Choosing the Best Accountability Partner, and then go find your own partner.
Finally, remember to follow all five steps. When used together, they’re powerful tools for answering the question “Have you earned the right to lead your organization in 2019?”