By Rebecca Shambaugh, President and CEO, Shambaugh Leadership
By most accounts, 2012 is shaping up to be a year of change and renewal. We are at a very exciting and important point in time when business and economic forces as well as our global society will reach tipping points due to extreme complexity and challenge. Our current systems and processes are outdated, and they simply won’t carry us into the future.
But uncertainty always has another side. As we approach the New Year, I believe that 2013 presents a prime opportunity to constructively evaluate where we are, consider new points of view and embrace the strategies that will be necessary to succeed in the future.
Leaders may not be able to predict the future, but great leadership will create the future at every level – personally, organizationally, nationally and globally. In my new book, Make Room for Her: Why Companies Need an Integrated Leadership Model to Achieve Extraordinary Results, I illustrate that now is the time for leaders to adopt new mindsets, develop skills, and adapt to different ways of doing business in order to navigate the next several years. Consider integrating these recommendations into the way you think and lead:
- Put Greater Meaning and Purpose in Your Life. Much of the western world’s model for success is based primarily on the mental/intellectual aspects of things associated with work and family. While these dimensions of our life are important, they are not always the full equation for a lasting sense of fulfillment, achievement, and success. It is important to view your life more holistically. One way to do this is to consider your world of leadership more broadly by aligning and tapping into the four quadrants, which represent a centered leadership model – which are physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual. I personally pull out a tool we use at SHAMBAUGH’s WILL program and coaching that we call the “Wheel of Life.” This tool helps me to step back and look at the 5–6 areas of my life that are most important to me, such as health, personal growth and development, relationships, my spiritual life, my recreation, and so on. From there, I reset or continue to lead from a set of priorities and goals in the areas where I would like to feel greater satisfaction. Our world is constantly changing and transforming, so take another look at how you are living and managing your life by reviewing and re-aligning your activities and energy so you are leading from your true center and are personally fulfilled in the critical aspects of your life.
- Invest Time in Yourself. Take time to assess and truly understand your priorities to better blend your work-life integration. In the U.S., we spend more hours at work than people in just about every other country. Ask yourself, am I really focusing on the things that matter (being effective) or am I just focusing on knocking off the activities that continue to build on my “to do” list? Step back and reflect on your priorities; Are you anchored and heading in the right direction or sleepwalking through life? Get rid of the clutter in your life (those energy depleters) and start fresh in the near year. Five years from now, what will you wish you had focused on and what will you regret that you didn’t do? Be aware of your top five values, priorities, and goals and focus on integrating those activities into your everyday life.
- Give Yourself Permission to Do Something You’ve Wanted to Do. What is it that you’ve been putting off? What were you always going to do when you had the time? What is it that, at the end of a day, you really wish you’d done…but didn’t? Whether it’s going home early to spend more time with your children, taking a trip, setting up a date night with your husband, reconnecting with an old friend, or learning a new language – do something nice for yourself and do it now! Part of what we can do as a role model is give other people permission to live their lives the way they want. If you are doing that, then you not only reap the personal rewards, you also encourage others to do the same.
- Create Healthy Disruptions for Yourself. When I get feel stuck or don’t have the energy or ideas that I need, I do something I wouldn’t normally do. I refer to these as healthy disruptions. They are a great way to break the day-to-day pattern of my life. This helps to re- energize me, be more creative, and often provides a healthy and realistic perspective on issues and challenges in my world. Your options are limitless! Read a book you would not have thought of reading. Go see a matinee with a friend or be daring and just go by yourself. Cook something you’ve never eaten before. Play solitaire. Call someone who gave you his business card. Take a walk around the block. Put music on or turn it off! Try creating healthy disruptions for yourself and let me know what shows up for you!
- Have Fun and Keep a Sense of Humor. Believe it or not, fun doesn’t always happen! Sometimes we have to plan for it. What are you doing for the pure fun of it? I play tennis and golf, meet friends for dinner, and watch old movies – just for fun! It’s important to know what fun looks like for you and to pursue those activities regularly. And for me, fun often involves laughter. People who laugh live longer, are healthier and have a better outlook on life. Resolve to not take things too seriously at the end of the day. Set your life up to include laughter as part of it. And, remember, one of the best things you can do is laugh at yourself.
It may seem that in times of change we should hit the gas pedal and speed into the future. But as we move into the New Year, I believe it’s crucial for all leaders to take the time – particularly during times of great change – to reflect on the events of the past, the lessons learned, and the wisdom gained. All the signs are telling me that with the many changes happening around us so is the leadership model for the 21st Century and women possess the natural strengths that are valued in all aspects of leadership. I invite you to examine your own leadership and ask yourself if you are leading with your “best self” and then showing up and taking a seat at the leadership table. Remember for real change to happen, we first have to believe and then be the change we want to see.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and questions. Have and wonderful Holiday!
For more information link to SHAMBAUGH’s Core Services for Leadership Development and their Women In Leadership and Learning (WILL) Program, which is nationally recognized leadership program that is known for its results in the development, advancement, and retention of organizations top talented women leaders. To learn more about the Sticky Floors check out Rebecca’s bestselling book, It’s Not a Glass Ceiling, It’s a Sticky Floor, and don’t miss her latest book, Make Room for Her: Why Companies Need an Integrated Leadership Model to Achieve Extraordinary Results. For more information about SHAMBAUGH’s Executive Coaching and other Leadership Development Programs visit www.shambaughleadership.com.