3 Thoughts on Leadership

The critical leadership activities that cannot be delegated are NEXT, NOW to NEXT and WHO and HOW:

  • NEXT – this is the future state, the vision, the what’s next for the organization. Leaders must get clear on what’s next and then align and inspire the people in their organization to follow them. We spent the afternoon working with the CEO of an NGO in Washington DC as he defined the ideal culture to support the transformed organization that’s next. It’s an enormous change. He recognizes his critical role and has shifted his priorities to devote 40% of his time to focus on the transformation (the NEXT) and culture (WHO and HOW) of the future.
  • NOW to NEXT – this is the change that must occur to go from where you are NOW (current state) to NEXT (future state). Announcing what’s next is insufficient to create the alignment and inspire your people to follow. Leaders by their very nature, can envision a lot of NEXT. However, there is a limited capacity within an organization to move from NOW to NEXT. This is the role of the leader, understanding the capacity of the organization and working WITH it to move successfully to what’s NEXT.
  • WHO and HOW – this is about intentionally creating the culture or environment needed to achieve the future state. As a leader, you decide WHO stays and who goes. You decide WHO joins the team and who is not a fit. The HOW refers to the accepted beliefs and behaviors. The HOW is the values that you state and practice. The HOW creates an impact, that either casts a shadow or a light on your organization. Culture creation is an activity that cannot be delegated. Whether or not leaders are intentional, they are uniquely responsible for the culture in the organization.

Remember to stay balanced; this is essential to long-term success. Balanced Leadership occurs when you focus equally on results and relationships; profit and people; task and talent. Many leaders focus on one side of the equation and achieve short term gains at the expense of their character, calling or legacy. While there are times that its essential to focus on results, when it’s done at the expense of the relationships, lasting damage can be irreparable.

Find Your Leadership Voice – Despite decades of great thought leadership, research and study there is not an agreed upon definition of leadership. We believe that is because each leader is unique. While there are some elements in common, truly great leadership occurs when a leader defines leadership in his or her own unique context. We’ve been helping leaders do this through the Finding Your Leadership Voice ™ process. Let us know if you’d like to learn more.

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