Monday, December 12, 2016

How do leaders cope with prolonged uncertainty and having too much to do? - part #2

When working through prolonged uncertainty and having way to much to do given the time before you, it is important surround yourself with the right people. I wrote earlier this fall about the importance of having the right people on the right seats on the bus. To build on that line of thought, I believe it is time we stop retaining people who routinely mess things up. These individuals consistently take your time and focus away from the right things, operationally and strategically. Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great notes that having the right people in the right places reduces distractions and increases engagement.

On a parallel track, having the right people around you creates the conditions for right action. I have learned over the course of my life that action is commonplace, and right action is not. We as leaders want people to do the right thing at the right time with the right information for the right reasons. What I have learned is that the right people bring something unique to the right action equation, namely more allies who role model the core philosophy of the company, and more people who offer a collective commitment to always doing things better.

Finally, we need allies and mentors in our lives who will help us rediscover our internal strength. At the Spring 2016 From Vision to Action Executive Roundtable, I talked about the importance of separating role from self. Many commented to me that this was a helpful reminder. Today, I want to go further than that.

Now, I believe we need to further develop our non-work identities, because more and more people in leadership positions are becoming solely identified by their work. As Erin Reid and Lakshmi Ramarajan write in their article “Managing The High Intensity Workplace,” Harvard Business Review, June 2016, we need to develop our “civic self, an athletic self, a family-oriented self.” With this level of wholeness, we gain greater perspective and capacity to handle life’s challenges.

This week, remember the advice of  Gary Keller with Jay Papasan in his book, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, Bard Press, 2012: “What you build today will either empower or restrict you tomorrow.” It is time to build for a better tomorrow.

Geery Howe, M.A. Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change Morning Star Associates 319 - 643 - 2257

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