Car Keys and Leadership - You can misplace both
As a Global Creative leader, your challenges are not just about finding your keys in the AM and getting to work on time. Your challenges are locating and implementing the business model and principles you spent time and resources to develop and then set aside like a set of car keys.
What’s going on here? ‘Monkey Mind’? Overwhelm? ADHD?
Regardless of what you call it something is happening that is impeding your ability to be an effective leader. Symptoms like distraction, forgetfulness and lack of follow-through are not only impacting your abilities but also impacting your team. People are counting on you to do more than just show up on time. They are counting on you to show up on time ready to lead, manage up and down, resource and act.
"Honey, have you seen my leadership?"
Missing car keys are pretty obvious. No keys, no way of getting to work. A frantic search and they show up or you find a back up set. How often have you never found your keys or never gotten to work?
Leadership is different. A business owner or manager can go days or even weeks without accessing a real strategic moment. It's not so obvious when leadership is misplaced since there is no immediate consequence like missing cars keys - things still get done, orders are filled, employees are paid. It's worse when the organization suffers from a culture of urgency and fighting fires - where the default mode of leading is being the first to run into a burning building. Global Creatives can also get stuck in 'doing' mode (too much engagement, not enough awareness), forgetting to pause and step back for a strategic moment. To a fault we put a premium on the do part of the job forgetting the plan, the model, the vision and most important forgetting to articulate all three.
Five signs your strategic plan is MIA
Your collective vision of success ebbs and flows
You are consistently shifting priorities to meet immediate demands
Your team fades or loses interest as it closes in on a completion
You feel like you need to restart with a clean slate
Organizationwide there is a lack of recognition or a forgetfulness around useful strategic structures like principles, roles, expectations and boundaries
Butterfly Cocoon vs Bee Colony
Just like you put your keys out in a strategic spot near the door, put the leadership out in the open for all to see and respond to. Don't expect spontaneous leading. Start with investing your most precious commodity toward strategic development - your time. Commit to your own weekly strategic session first to get super clear on your own priorities (Ala GTD). Make this public knowledge and make it non-negotiable. This will give you the clear and calm brain to enter into strategic discussion with your team members. This is not about loading your plate with more meetings. This is about committing to regular high level discussions to locate, redirect and adjust resources and efforts.
Does your organization value independence or collaboration? Getting the job done or doing a good job? Working or working smart?
It's amazing that work cultures are still functioning in 2015 that inhibit communication and innovation, where workers are invited to create there own work cocoon to disappear into and not to come out of until the project is finished. Do you notice your team members disappearing for days into there own cocoons?
Create value around 'social competence' where people, ideas and challenges are shared in an open setting, where as in a bee colony roles are defined and expectations are clear.
Back to Basics
Roles and Boundaries - Get back to what you do well and invite others to identify their 'smart spots'. Notice when you veer into someone else's domain and correct course.
Principles - What matters most to your company? Your division? Are they in alignment with your own values? If not, you may have a problem since most Global Creatives pay attention above else to context and relatedness. If so then make them transparent and place them out for all to see.
KPI/Goals - Are your goals clearly articulated. There is nothing like a super clear expectation and measurement of success to create motivation around an important objective.
Accountability - Is it restrictive and punishing or flexible and focused on learning? Does it reward risk and strategic thinking?
Finally the best way to not misplace leadership is to live parts of the vision right now. To incorporate daily actions that reinforce what you and your team want to become. You want to become a thought leader in your field? Then give time and attention every week to this practice producing your unique content.