Execution, Productivity, and Leading Change


Many thanks to guest blogger, Meredith Kimbell for this post!

Are you struggling to get the best of others in these tough times of business?

3 Values that Derail Success  

Kristen discovered the truth of the old adage that you learn about your core values in the hard times.  She clearly expressed her values of achieving, being her best and bringing out the best in others when business was good, but as the challenges got tougher, she discovered she fell into using 3 values that almost derailed her career.  Do any of them show up in your leadership style these days?   
 What Worked   
Choose Strategic Impact Over Convenience:  Even though productivity and profits were slipping, there were still 50 things on Kristen’s to do list and scheduled meetings to attend.  Business as usual was the convenient choice, but not the wise one.  Kristen started saying “no” to low-priority activities and “yes” to time for tough-minded strategic planning.  If she didn’t, her staff was threatened and her credibility was sure to erode.  Creating a new vision and strategy created tension, but it was essential to making the contribution she really wanted.      



 What You Can Do:  Check this week: When have you “gone with the flow” of what was convenient in the short run, but produced little value in the long run?  What decisions did you make for short-term convenience rather long-term strategic impact?  Delegate or decline low-value activities so you can start defining your market’s and clients’ most important needs.  Identify your significant opportunities and define a new vision for success and 3 long-term, high-value goals that inspire you and your team.  Start making a new outstanding contribution. 


Choose Commitment Over Comfort:  New goals required that Kristen take new action, but she found excuse after excuse not to dive in.  She realized she was prioritizing based on a useless value of comfort, not the commitment required to create her desired future.  It was so easy to rest on her old reputation and habits rather than stretch, but she knew comfort guaranteed her team’s numbers would shrink further. Choosing commitment, she wrote an action plan with daily and weekly milestones. She shared it and held herself accountable to her coach, her team and herself.  She learned that pushing beyond her comfort zone, while initially hard, was ultimately exhilarating.

What You Can Do:

The choice for comfort shows up in many ways.  Check: How strong are your feedback mechanisms?  Are you hiding from bad news?  Check: Are you staying comfortable using old skills and patterns or are you stretching enough to create the future you want?  You espouse to be a leader who creates change.  How well are you leading yourself?  Research shows that the most successful leaders have written goals and consistently take courageous actions to reach them.  If you don’t or you haven’t yet written and shared your plan with significant others, block the time and do it this week.

Balance Connection with Achievement:  Once Kristen started driving to achieve her new goals, she over-corrected.  She got so focused on delivering milestones that she forgot to stay connected with people.  She began hearing concerns about eroding work-life balance and her “distant” style.  When I asked about her personal energy level, she admitted she was exhausted.  Coaching helped her reflect, reconnect to her personal rhythms and put her life together again.  As she recovered her energy, she reconnected with her staff and helped energize them too.  Bringing out everyone’s best raised spirit, productivity and achievement.  Now she was living her true values.

What You Can Do:  Check: What is the status of your energy and health?  As the airlines say, you must put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others.  When do you put yourself first and nourish your health and spirit?  Following a program that blocks regular, even short, times to nourish yourself will accelerate your long-term success.  Check: How are you treating others?  They will tell you by how open, enthusiastic and productive they are. If they are struggling, check how well you connect with and bring out the best from each one.  If you need help, ask for it.  

Business Impact

 Kristen converted 3 situation-driven values into 3 authentic values that expressed what was really most important to her.  She now knows that, especially in hard times, leading change requires that she first keep her own attitudes, values and choices powerful.  Using the clarity about her deepest leadership values, she improved her contribution, relationships, and resourcefulness.  Equally as important, she brought out more of the best in others and modeled practices they could also use to succeed in the tough times.  

©2008 Meredith Kimbell, Corporate Adventure.  Used with permission.  www.corporateadventure.com — Meredith Kimbell is an Award-winning Executive Coach and Co-author, Create the Business Breakthrough You Want.  Learn more at her website!  



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