Build Your Leadership Prototype

Your journey toward authentic leadership involves evolution and revolution. You’re in what LinkedIn Founder, Reid Hoffman, calls the state of permanent beta.

But, what’s your ideal leadership prototype? What are you working on becoming? Not some textbook leadership prototype, or what someone else wants you to be. Build your prototype of your leadership at it’s very best.

Design Your Leadership Prototype

  1. Name your leader. When you’re your very best, what would you call yourself?
  2. What does your ideal leadership self…

       •  Value?
       •  Think?
       •  Feel?
       •  Do?

  3. What are the greatest strengths of your best possible version of you?
  4. What are the potential downsides of your desired leadership prototype? Where will this guy get you in trouble?
  5. Now consider your beta version. Where are you closest to your prototype today? What areas still need work? What people and situations are helping you grow toward your ideal image? What (and who) is getting in the way?

    Be deliberate in your leadership prototype design. Test it across many contexts. Find the weak spots. Make them stronger. Test some more.  Acknowledge flaws. Learn. Grow.

Real leadershipThis post is part of a series on the third branch of the REAL model. If you’re not yet a subscriber, enter your email address to join the REAL conversation.

Becoming More Authentic: A Practical Guide

You are born authentic. Life happens. You slowly start to hide bits of yourself from yourself and others. Not deliberately. It’s a gradual mutation, hard to see– let alone feel. You work to convince your heart this new you is practical, even necessary. More life happens.
Reverse the pattern.

Benefits of Aging

From the hundreds of folks weighing in on yesterday’s post in various circles (including great comments yesterday, THANK YOU!), the most frequent theme was, “I have become more authentic with age.”

Perhaps it’s because early attempts are clutsy. We need more life to understand our values. Or, we take an aggressive stance without thinking it through. Or perhaps as LaRay Quy commented in yesterday’s post:

Sooner or later, life catches up with those who are not authentic, but I feel sort of sorry for them because most of them have no idea WHO or WHAT they really stand for the illusion has become the reality. I think it’s sometimes called “mid-life crisis?”

Don’t just wait it out and hope for your years to make you wise. You want every bit of authenticity as early in your game as possible.

Growing Toward Authentic

There’s no easy way to BECOME more authentic. I didn’t see authenticity 101 in my son’s freshman choices. But it’s helpful to consider some components.

Values

Get deliberate in articulating your values. Make a short list. Write them down. Order them. Notice the natural tension among them. When your deeply held values battle which wins? For one week, at the end of each day take out the list. Grade yourself honestly on each one. Notice the patterns.

Integrity

Integrity sits at the intersection of your heart, head, mouth and feet. Pay deliberate attention to when and where you do what you say. Where do your best intentions break down? When are you tempted to cover up your choices?

Courage

Most of us show up more authentic in some places than others. Some people and scenes stoke our authenticity. Others bring out the faker in us. Identify one situation where you need more courage. Name the fear. Give it an audacious and ugly name. Then find one way to punch it in the face today.

Transparency

Start today with a stroke count. Count how many times your heart called you to share more, but you bit your tongue. Notice why. Look for patterns. Ask you team for help. What are they longing to learn more about, take the risk and let them in.

Real leadershipThis post is part of the REAL leadership model series. Please join the conversation by subscribing, commenting and sharing.

The Sacrifice Of Authenticity

Authenticity is risky. When you lead from your heart, feedback stings brighter. It takes courage to think (and even more to say) to those in positions of power, “Thank you, I understand you, I choose not to lead that way.”

I’ve said that.

These potentially vital words are treacherous on two fronts. First, you may be missing an important point. Maybe you should be leading differently. Or, even if you know deep in your heart how you’re leading is “right”, the “system” may reject your style. You may not fit in. If values are truly misaligned, something must go, and the system’s bigger than you.

In a world of performance potential grids, and the “gift” of feedback under every tree, when must you say “no?”

As we turn toward the third branch of the REAL model. Authenticity, I asked leaders across many contexts to help wrestle with this sensitive topic.
“How do you balance staying true to your core leadership values when you’re pressured to lead a different way?”

I heard stories of authenticity with happy and sad endings from large corporations, small businesses, volunteer gigs, and churches. And then the offering,

“I think that the balance you’re looking to maintain is impossible without some sacrifices.”

Be sure YOU choose what to sacrifice.

4 Sacrifices of Inauthenticity

Yes, there are sacrifices to true authenticity. But the sacrifices of faking it are greater. The world is full of fakers that crash and burn. Build your leadership on a firm foundation.

  1. Results – I’m going to assume the deeply held values you’re clinging to are producing a track record of sustained results. If not, open your heart again and consider changing your approach. Great results come from a deeply committed team inspired toward a vital vision. If you’ve got that in spades, beware of disrupting that flow. If you’re busy worrying about what others will think, you’re likely to choke. Sure, there’s danger in swimming up-stream, but results buy freedom.
  2. Energy – Working to maintain appearances drains vital energy. To be at your very best you need every ounce of energy focused on your vision and team. Investing that energy in political games or maintaining a facade takes your life force out of the game.
  3. Followers – Human beings want to follow people they trust. Your team has a highly calibrated BS meter. Stop leading with integrity and courage, and people will know. The dangerous truth is that they may appear to be with you. Inauthenticity is contagious. The good news, so is authenticity.
  4. Health – Nothing’s more stressful than leading a lie. If you’re more interested in being promoted than supporting your team, but “act” like a servant leader, your body will retaliate.

    Real authenticity will involve sacrifice. So will faking it. You decide.

Real leadershipAuthenticity is the third branch of the REAL model. Don’t miss another post, enter your email address and join the conversation of this interactive community growing together.

Thanks to the collaborative thinking of members of the Lead Change, Lead with Giants, and Center For Creative Leadership communities for your inspiring discussion on this topic. Looking forward to the comments of the LGL community. Namaste.

*Photo by Larry Kohlenstein

Why Your Elevator Pitch Isn’t Working

You know you need an elevator pitch. Perhaps you’ve even practiced and gotten “why choose me” down to a perfect pitch. But somehow you never seem to get the chance to use it. Sadly, the biggest mistake I see aspiring networkers make is that they don’t recognize an “elevator” when they’re in one.

Invisible Elevators

I had my entire leadership team in for a Summit– 2 1/2 days of strategy, development, growing and fun. The shuttles from the hotel to our headquarters-based meeting left at 7 am. A few of us had cars and were driving over. As I walked into the parking lot, there was a cluster of folks who had clearly missed the bus.

“No worries, I’ve got room,” I said, cheerfully. Everyone looked at their feet. One of my Directors who also had a car offered, “or you can come with me…” They all followed her. I looked at them and smiled, “really?” You are on the way to a leadership summit, where the first thing on the agenda is how to network through elevator pitches and no one’s getting in my car? One brave soul came forward and we put her suitcase in my trunk. “Don’t worry, I said, no elevator pitch necessary.”

I then proceeded to share all the crazy stuff that had happened when I was in cars with executives. The time I was so busy “elevator pitching” my team’s results to our CEO that I drove past the exit (with an 8 mile recovery). The day I took a sales rep out to lunch for a “wager” we’d made on an “impossible” accomplishment, and got pulled over for an illegal turn. She warmed up. And bingo a BEAUTIFUL elevator pitch. I learned a bit about her and what she was up to. She asked about my career, and then shared more. We both left enriched by the time together.

Fast Pitch Exercise

Fast forward to 8 am. Summit.

A few leaders on my team created a “fast pitch” exercise. I recommend it if you ever have a large team together who are eager to advance.

A bit like speed dating, and speed mentoring, We had 120 people join us in fast pitch stations. My senior team and I were the “catchers” and everyone else brought their “elevator speeches” or joined us in a “mock interview” question in one-on-one sessions. Each session lasted only a few minutes, but we offered immediate feedback, and a chance to fine-tune. I was astounded by the progress made in such a short time.

Improve your elevator pitch

In the debrief, the team said they learned to…

  • Start with genuine connection
  • Understand what’s important to “them” and build on that
  • Don’t assume they get your world
  • Speak in understandable language
  • Don’t minimize who you are
  • Share your passion and energy
  • Speak from your heart (show up genuine)

Most importantly. Get in the car. Leverage that walk to the meeting. Chat while working together on volunteer day.  Get past the small talk at the recognition dinner.

Elevator speeches don’t need elevators.

Know your worth, hone your message, and share it.

Why Your Elevator Pitch Isn't Working

You know you need an elevator pitch. Perhaps you’ve even practiced and gotten “why choose me” down to a perfect pitch. But somehow you never seem to get the chance to use it. Sadly, the biggest mistake I see aspiring networkers make is that they don’t recognize an “elevator” when they’re in one.

Invisible Elevators

I had my entire leadership team in for a Summit– 2 1/2 days of strategy, development, growing and fun. The shuttles from the hotel to our headquarters-based meeting left at 7 am. A few of us had cars and were driving over. As I walked into the parking lot, there was a cluster of folks who had clearly missed the bus.

“No worries, I’ve got room,” I said, cheerfully. Everyone looked at their feet. One of my Directors who also had a car offered, “or you can come with me…” They all followed her. I looked at them and smiled, “really?” You are on the way to a leadership summit, where the first thing on the agenda is how to network through elevator pitches and no one’s getting in my car? One brave soul came forward and we put her suitcase in my trunk. “Don’t worry, I said, no elevator pitch necessary.”

I then proceeded to share all the crazy stuff that had happened when I was in cars with executives. The time I was so busy “elevator pitching” my team’s results to our CEO that I drove past the exit (with an 8 mile recovery). The day I took a sales rep out to lunch for a “wager” we’d made on an “impossible” accomplishment, and got pulled over for an illegal turn. She warmed up. And bingo a BEAUTIFUL elevator pitch. I learned a bit about her and what she was up to. She asked about my career, and then shared more. We both left enriched by the time together.

Fast Pitch Exercise

Fast forward to 8 am. Summit.

A few leaders on my team created a “fast pitch” exercise. I recommend it if you ever have a large team together who are eager to advance.

A bit like speed dating, and speed mentoring, We had 120 people join us in fast pitch stations. My senior team and I were the “catchers” and everyone else brought their “elevator speeches” or joined us in a “mock interview” question in one-on-one sessions. Each session lasted only a few minutes, but we offered immediate feedback, and a chance to fine-tune. I was astounded by the progress made in such a short time.

Improve your elevator pitch

In the debrief, the team said they learned to…

  • Start with genuine connection
  • Understand what’s important to “them” and build on that
  • Don’t assume they get your world
  • Speak in understandable language
  • Don’t minimize who you are
  • Share your passion and energy
  • Speak from your heart (show up genuine)

Most importantly. Get in the car. Leverage that walk to the meeting. Chat while working together on volunteer day.  Get past the small talk at the recognition dinner.

Elevator speeches don’t need elevators.

Know your worth, hone your message, and share it.

You’ve Got To Move It, Move It

Last week was one of THOSE weeks. So much to do. The great, good, bad, and ugly. Pressures mounting on all fronts. Important investments in people, for which there was no short-cut. Business travel and back-to-back meetings. Demanding senior executive reviews and the requisite preparation. Mid year performance write-ups and discussions. A newly selected leader, and vital discussions with disappointed candidates). Preparation for our upcoming Leadership Summit, including an important tradition of writing personal notes in books for each member of the team. And then the unexpected train delays, and “small” LGL frustrations, like my entire site going down due to server issues. No time for exercise. Too much caffeine. Time to move it.

I received a note from an old friend, he asked “when do you sleep?” I responded with some bologna about being on a mission. Bottom line I hadn’t slept much. When the alarm went off the next morning, my husband said, (I think affectionately)… wow, honey, you’re a machine.).

Of course, I’m not a machine, and Friday night, I collapsed early. Saturday I awoke before 6 to ironically start writing my “energy series.” I was staring at the computer, when in all my stuckness, my little guy, Seb, snuggled in and said, “mom, are we going the gym?” We always go to the gym on Saturdays. It’s our “routine.” Ugh, I didn’t know I had this big summit next week, much work to do and NOTHING written on LGL. It’s an important week for the REAL model, the Energy front. 5 posts to write on something I believe in deeply and I had a big family day on Sunday with lots of commitments. The summit includes dramatic evening activities, so there would be no time to write then. Something had to go.

We went to the gym. Sometimes you’ve got to move it, move it.

Move it, Move it

Enter, Michael, my kickboxing instructor. This guy’s an energetic cop always over-the-top with excitement. He began, “I really need your help today, I need some support in gaining my usual energy.”

I thought, “Seriously, dude? Crap. I don’t feel it, you don’t feel it”

Okay game on. I smiled, he smiled, we went for it. 87 of us went for it. With in 10 minutes the “move it, move it” left my stress, his stress, our stress dripping on the floor. Something needed to go. We kick-boxed it away. I came home, and wrote 3 posts. The stuckness was gone.

When you’re exhausted, the last thing you want to do is “move it.” Take time to shake loose the energy. Get the blood flowing. Back away from the situation, and kick something. The ideas will follow.

For anyone who needs some Friday inspiration, our second favorite family song, I like to Move It, Move It .

Real leadership
This is the last in our series on Energy, the second branch in the REAL model. Tomorrow we return to our regular fare. Next week, Authenticity. Not yet a subscriber, enter your email address so you never miss a post.

You've Got To Move It, Move It

Last week was one of THOSE weeks. So much to do. The great, good, bad, and ugly. Pressures mounting on all fronts. Important investments in people, for which there was no short-cut. Business travel and back-to-back meetings. Demanding senior executive reviews and the requisite preparation. Mid year performance write-ups and discussions. A newly selected leader, and vital discussions with disappointed candidates). Preparation for our upcoming Leadership Summit, including an important tradition of writing personal notes in books for each member of the team. And then the unexpected train delays, and “small” LGL frustrations, like my entire site going down due to server issues. No time for exercise. Too much caffeine. Time to move it.

I received a note from an old friend, he asked “when do you sleep?” I responded with some bologna about being on a mission. Bottom line I hadn’t slept much. When the alarm went off the next morning, my husband said, (I think affectionately)… wow, honey, you’re a machine.).

Of course, I’m not a machine, and Friday night, I collapsed early. Saturday I awoke before 6 to ironically start writing my “energy series.” I was staring at the computer, when in all my stuckness, my little guy, Seb, snuggled in and said, “mom, are we going the gym?” We always go to the gym on Saturdays. It’s our “routine.” Ugh, I didn’t know I had this big summit next week, much work to do and NOTHING written on LGL. It’s an important week for the REAL model, the Energy front. 5 posts to write on something I believe in deeply and I had a big family day on Sunday with lots of commitments. The summit includes dramatic evening activities, so there would be no time to write then. Something had to go.

We went to the gym. Sometimes you’ve got to move it, move it.

Move it, Move it

Enter, Michael, my kickboxing instructor. This guy’s an energetic cop always over-the-top with excitement. He began, “I really need your help today, I need some support in gaining my usual energy.”

I thought, “Seriously, dude? Crap. I don’t feel it, you don’t feel it”

Okay game on. I smiled, he smiled, we went for it. 87 of us went for it. With in 10 minutes the “move it, move it” left my stress, his stress, our stress dripping on the floor. Something needed to go. We kick-boxed it away. I came home, and wrote 3 posts. The stuckness was gone.

When you’re exhausted, the last thing you want to do is “move it.” Take time to shake loose the energy. Get the blood flowing. Back away from the situation, and kick something. The ideas will follow.

For anyone who needs some Friday inspiration, our second favorite family song, I like to Move It, Move It .

Real leadership
This is the last in our series on Energy, the second branch in the REAL model. Tomorrow we return to our regular fare. Next week, Authenticity. Not yet a subscriber, enter your email address so you never miss a post.

How To Become A More Energetic Leader

Your team needs you to show up strong, energetic, and ready to go. It’s hard for your team to run out of steam, when the leader they admire keeps showing up strong. Energetic leadership is contagious and inspires results.

I’ve been observing the most energetic leaders I can find, and looking for themes. I’ve also been paying close attention to those who show signs of burn-out (the biggest sign is they tell me so).

4 Causes of Energy

  1. Calling
    Feeling deeply inspired to a passionate calling ignites fires even the worst days can’t extinguish. When you’re connected to a deeper calling, setbacks stoke the flame. Look for the deeper meaning in what you do. Almost all work has meaning when done well. Engage your team in that cause.
  2. Commitment
    Is it a job, or something more? Feeling a deep commitment to outcomes drives energy. Commit to personal goals you must achieve. Committed marathoners train in the rain. Discover what you’re willing to wake up early and slush through puddles to achieve.
  3. Connection
    Energy is contagious. When work sucks, deep relationships save the day. Invest deeply and build lasting relationships. Build professional intimacy. Invest in light connections with every person you encounter. Smile more, help strangers, the energy will multiply.
  4. Comeback
    The most exciting game to watch is the comeback. The underdog leaves it all on the field, and pulls it out. That can be you. Put your rally cap on, garner your resources, and give it another go. Celebrate the small wins, and go for another. Nothing is more energizing than turnaround success.
  5. What would you add as #5?

Real leadershipThis post is the 3rd of 4 on Energy, as part of the REAL Leadership Model. Stay tuned by entering your email address to subscribe. Already part of our community, invite 2 friends. Let’s grow the conversation and our leadership together. Namaste.

Become Leader Of The Year

Remember how energized you were that time you received meaningful recognition? Perhaps it was something equivalent to the leader of the year award, in front of a big crowd. Hands were shaken and pictures taken. Or it might have been less formal, but deeply touched your heart. “Wow, they really get what I’ve contributed here.” Formal recognition feels fantastic (I know, informal is equally important, but that’s a different post.)

And then there’s the rest of the time. You do great work and no one seems to notice. Or, someone else gets the award, and you’re scratching your head. You suck it up, smile, and congratulate, but inside you’re hurt, maybe even a little bit mad. I’m not proud to say, I’ve been there, felt that.

Tonight

Tonight I’m hosting a big recognition dinner, complete with microphones, music, plaques and hoopla. A few well deserving leaders will feel fantastic. My team and I have debated the nominations, crunched numbers, discussed behaviors. We feel great about our choices. And yet, before I announce winners, I know I’ll get a familiar sick feeling, worried about the rest of the deserving leaders who will leave empty-handed.

Recognition has a sharp double edge.

Become Your Leader of the Year

Sure external validation feels great. But, real leadership energy comes from leading authentically toward your meaningful vision. Real leaders know when they are leading well. They don’t need someone else to tell them they’re leader of the year.

What do you long to be recognized for?

Take a few minutes this week and design the award you would want most to receive.

  • Name it.
  • Define the criteria.
  • Identify the specific outcomes you most long to celebrate.
  • Define the leadership behaviors you would want to model

Articulate what matters most. Perhaps it’s creating lasting change, or progress toward a meaningful cause. Maybe it’s developing others to unprecedented success. Get specific. Write up the talk track you would hear as you walked up to receive the award.

How are you doing?

Be honest. Would YOU nominate YOU for that award today? What must change? Where can you improve?

Don’t wait for external validation. Envision your leadership at its very best. Now, lead toward that. Become your best leader of the year. Make this your best leadership year ever.

Real leadershipThis week we are talking about the many angles of leadership “energy,” the second branch in the REAL model. Tomorrow,will take a deeper look at leadership energy. If you’ve not yet joined the LGL community, enter your email address to subscribe and never miss a post.

Shake It Off: When To Let It Go

“Shake off all fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion.”
~ Thomas Jefferson

Bad stuff happens. Life is unfair. Stupidity drains our energy. We must learn from the tough stuff. And then, shake it off.

  • You’re highly qualified, and don’t get the job, again.
  • Irate customers take their bad day out on you.
  • Your peer is stressed out at home, and is making the project miserable

Of course, you have a role in the story. You must learn from each scene. But, it’s not only about you. Don’t get defeated. Like the proverbial duck, let the dirty water roll off, hold your head high, and swim on with grace.

Shake it Off, A Time Out Story

We on our way to go tubing. My 7-year-old had invited an older friend he admired and desperately wanted to impress. The banter in the back seat turned to conflict.  Something felt unfair. Suddenly, all that “I’m trying so hard” energy erupted in an outburst of tears (from my kid). His hard work to fit in as an older guy, left him looking like a baby. I stopped the car (had a gentle parenting moment) and then said, “okay now shake it off.” We both physically shook our arms and legs, and got back in the car. He rallied.

Grown-Up Shake It Off Moments

The Job Search

Every week I get compelling emails from our LGL community. Beautiful leaders stuck in bad situations. Feeling defeated. The job market is still terrible in many areas around the world (I received 3 emails on this topic from subscribers in 3 different countries just this week). You are not alone. Sure there are important actions to take resumes to hone, interviews to streamline. Do all that. Most importantly, don’t let defeat get you down. Know your worth. Shake it off, stand tall, keep knocking.

Customer Interactions

In the customer facing world, looking to “wow” customers in every interaction can be tough. Face it, sometimes customers are mean. They’re mad at something in their lives, that is not about you, or even your company. Create connection, find empathy, do everything you can. Once you hang up the call, shake it off. Don’t transfer that negative feeling to the next (mostly likely reasonable) customer.

Weird Vibes

Yesterday, I overheard a conversation on the train. I’ve had that same conversation hundreds of times. The guy in the next seat was trying to calm down the woman on the other end of his phone. Her peer was acting like a jerk, the situation had mushroomed and work was suffering. The side of the conversation I could hear went something like this. “It’s not about you. Your peer is really dealing with some complex issues. Try to be as caring and helpful as you can. And, as hard as this sounds, some of this you need to just let go.

A pretty cool poem that may help, She Let Go.

Real leadershipNote: This week, I’ll be dealing with angles of “energy” the second branch of the REAL model. Holding on when we need to shake it off, will drain energy. Reclaim some of yours. Stay tuned this week for other angles on energy. Add your own thoughts. Don’t want to miss any of this? Enter your email to receive updates. Share with a friend. Let’s grow this community together.

Super Leaders Open Doors

Great leaders open doors for other leaders. Great leaders also know when to knock. Be a door opener. Learn how to knock.

Who’s opened doors for you? What have you done to open doors for others?

Bill Treasurer, author of Leaders Who Open Doors, is collecting stories of leaders who have opened doors, or created opportunities for others. Today, I share my story of Dr. Henry Sims, who opened a door that changed the course of my career.

I invite you to recognize a leader who opened a door for you in the comments. This post will be included in Bill’s Leadership Open Door Fest on August 13th.

A SuperLeadership- Open Doors Story

When I was a young communications graduate student at the University of Maryland, I met the best door opener of my career. I was working on a research project around empowering leadership. I noticed that nearly everyone I was reading was citing the same guy, Dr. Henry Sims.  Since this was before the days you could google-up answers in an instant, I went to the library and found one of his books, SuperLeadership, Leading Others to Lead Themselves.

Dr. Henry SimsI flipped to the back page to read about the authors. I had to laugh. Dr. Sims taught across campus at the business school. I read the book in one sitting, picked up the book and my recent writing, ran across campus and knocked on his door. He stopped what he was doing and we talked for several hours, he practiced everything he had written about.

He led me to lead myself.

He asked provocative questions and made me think. He challenged me to consider my direction. Not just in my research, but in my career.

I left my paper with him for comment.

When I came back the next week, he said, “I think I can help you publish this (which we did)” and the next several hours of in-depth discussion led me to understand that what I really wanted to do was to be working in organizations, not studying them and that what I needed most was not an academic advisor, but a contact.

Then he began opening doors. The next week he took me to lunch with a director doing leadership work in the company I have worked for ever since.

Hank has remained my mentor and my friend. When I get stuck, I knock. He always has questions, ideas, and contacts (mostly other folks for whom he’s opened doors). I knocked just last month.

I asked Hank why he opens doors for students and others (ironically, I never did take a class from him).
In retrospect, the best part of my academic career has been the influence and support I have been able to provide to others. I have tried to act and behave as a “SuperLeader.”

The benefits of knocking is that some SuperLeader may open a door. Knock. Answer. Lead.

Another Favorite Book by Hank Sims: Business Without Bosses: How Self Managed Teams are Building High Performance Companies

*Photo Dr. Henry Sims, Super Leader, Door Opener

Fast Results: Accomplish More In Less Time

You’ve been asked to do the impossible. The clock’s ticking and there’s pressure to perform. Competing priorities complicate the scene. Pushing harder exacerbates stress. Stress leads to inaction. Time to move fast.

The FAST Model

F-Focus

To move results quickly, focus is key. Resist the urge to fix everything. Identify and communicate the biggest priorities and break the work into manageable tasks. Focus on what each team member needs for success.

Communication: Align on 2-3 key leadership messages to share in every context.  Communicate them to the point of obnoxious… then communicate more. Check for understanding. Communicate again. Test it, “what do you think I most want to talk about today? If they don’t shout out your priorities, you’re not clear.

Activity: Make big work small. It’s tempting to build action plans with lots of activity to show you are trying. Less is more. Too much action overwhelms and confuses. Identify 2-3 actions that will make the biggest impact and hit them hard. Reinforce with focused and consistent leadership messaging.

Outliers: Use data to get surgical in your approach. Know the outliers and give them focused recognition and support. Avoid broad-brush interventions. Focus just-in-time actions on those who need them. See Also: How to Break the 80/20 Rule

A-Acknowledge

Slow down early and listen to concerns. Stop to acknowledge progress.

Competing Priorities: New initiatives are almost always piled onto existing workload. Acknowledge conflicting goals and competing priorities. Listen carefully to concerns. Prioritize. Give permission to stop. Some balls must drop. Decide which ones.

Progress: When you’re moving fast, don’t forget to pause at progress. Acknowledge small wins. Celebrate new behaviors. Recognize breakthrough thinking (see also In Defense of Wow)

S-Stretch

Fast-paced change provides great growth opportunities. Stretch yourself and others.

People: Fast paced change provides stretch opportunities. Provide special projects and stretch assignments. Turn strong players into teachers. Ask everyone what they must do next to achieve.

Boundaries, Assumptions and Rules: Stretch people to try new behaviors. Stretch boundaries, assumptions, and rules. Spend time asking the question, “what have we never tried before…?” Engage unlikely thinkers from outside the team.

T-Think

Go slow enough to think about what you’re doing and who you’re involving.

Stop stupidity: Every fast-moving project contains elements of stupid (e.g. time wasting tasks, old processes and reports that no longer align with new vision). Empower everyone to say stop as needed. See Also: Give the Guy a Brake and Seth Godin’s Basting the Turkey)

Assess and Fine-tune: Carefully measure progress and fine-tune as needed. Watch for unintended consequences. Be ready to change course as needed.

Stakeholder: When moving fast it’s easy to exclude. Think about peripheral players that must understand your plan. Slowing down to include the right players early, leads to smoother acceleration.

Real leadershipThis is the third of three in my series on Results. The first branch of the REAL model. Tomorrow, will return to a regular post. Next week, we’ll pick up with the E branch of the model. “Energy.” If you’re not already subscribed, enter your email, so you don’t miss it. As always, thanks to all who are joining the conversation through their comments.