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Leaders transform vision into reality by rallying their team around more than just a well articulated idea – by truly engaging them in the strategy to get there. Execution of the strategy is where most leaders and businesses fail because the variables that affect strategy are not static but dynamic – constantly fluctuating: barriers to entry, competition, personalities, scarcity of resources and more.
Many things are outside of a leader’s control. Markets and the economy oscillate. Lending access varies. Customer perception and loyalty are influenced by social media. Staff members come and go as the average employee only stays with a company roughly 4 years these days.
If you as the leader cannot adjust your vision and your strategy in a dynamic synergy with the flux of your team, stakeholders, the market, and a global economy you are not poised to realize your goals. Someone else will beat you on this measure. You can’t be stuck. You can’t explode in front of people. You have to easily adjust to challenges in real time.
My clients who are effective leaders are bound by a moral code of ethics whereby they apply character, strengths, skill, and values to advance their mission by engaging their team. They are able to change their behavior and sustain the change to affect outcomes because they have prepared ahead of time to know how to execute under fire.
You wouldn’t wait until a ski lift takes you to the highest mountain in the resort to learn to ski. You need to know, already, who you are and what you believe: not what your colleagues believe or the company believes or your friends believe, but what you believe.
Leaders identify their strengths and build a barracks of skills so that they may respond effectively at a meeting, to a client, or to a dissatisfied customer with the finesse of a consummate and valued professional. If you need specific skills you don’t have, get them. Think through character issues – morality, honor, ethics – ahead of time so that you have the strength to address challenges head on with a steadfastness of nature that reinforces a productive and fulfilled culture of employees.
How to Make Better Decisions in Real Time
1. Make a list of needed skills. Write down all of the skills that you need to elevate you to the level you want to be. Not just to fulfill your current role.
2. Write down one thing you can do to build each skill. If you need better knowledge in a particular industry, ask colleagues to recommend a course or mentor for you. If you need a better image, spend time analyzing colleagues in similar roles or industries or talk with an image consultant.
3. Make a list of five of your biggest strengths. People who have not matched their character and professional strengths with their life’s work continue to feel unsettled and under-fulfilled. They may make erratic decisions or operate inconsistently with an impersonal persona. This article can help you define your strengths. http://www.startingovernow.com/Articles/Strengths-Free_Tools_to_Help_You_Define_Your_Strengths.html
4. Keep your list of strengths in your desk as a reference. When you are faced with a difficult decision, approach the issue from the perspective of each of your strengths. If you can’t decide whether or not to invest in a marketing plan, address it from your already defined strength of “resourcefulness,” and your strengths of “compassion” and “practicality.” Most importantly, which of your strengths will help you in a difficult situation so as to not lose your “cool?”
5. In an eruptive real time situation, draw on your strength. Whenever you feel threatened or that you may react in a way that is not in alignment with your values, remove yourself from the situation so that you may draw on your best strength to deal with it. Tell the person or team that you will get back to them with an answer once you have had time to process it. If you are not able to leave the room, draw on the strength that you have already defined that best equips you to deal under fire.
Lead by example. You establish your corporate culture and empower your team by having the confidence to know who you are, what you believe in and what it is you need to learn. Others will want to learn if they see that it is OK to not have all the answers all of the time. What is it that you need to learn? Start now!
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Mary Lee Gannon is the president of Gannon Group – a full service executive coaching, training and consulting firm that provides turnaround strategies for people and organizations by improving team performance, executive leadership skills, board performance, planning and project execution. Mary Lee’s personal turnaround came as a stay-at-home mother, with four children under seven-years-old, who endured a divorce that took she and the children from the country club life to public assistance from where within a short time she worked out of that to the level of CEO. Her book “Starting Over – 25 Rules for When You’ve Bottomed Out” is available in bookstores, on Amazon or on her web site. Email Mary Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at www.StartingOverNow.com.