Welcome Notes from the Field Series! This series provides people using the Innovative Leadership tools to talk about what they have accomplished. In this first set of posts, Alice will talk about how she used the five elements of innovative leadership as the foundation for her job search, then to onboard in a new job. Her exploration is a six-part blog in which she’ll explore each element and provide examples of how she applied them. Alice writes these posts in her own words after working with Metcalf & Associates on her development. The first component of innovative leadership is using vision to set a personal direction and make the decision to change jobs.
The Impact of Creating a Personal Vision
The first step in developing innovative leadership is the process of creating a compelling vision. As outlined in the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook by Maureen Metcalf and Mark Palmer, the purpose behind this is to gain clarity about personal vision and aspirations. For many, this clarity can ignite change in behavior through definition of who you are, and how you spend time and energy. Outlining a personal and professional vision creates an authentic roadmap of where you are and the goals you are passionate about. It is also a great time to evaluate personal and professional vision against your current role within an organization and the overall vision of the organization. Such evaluation has the potential to spur life-changing events.
For me, creating a personal vision did just that. It forced me to stop and think about what I really wanted to achieve in my life. I evaluated the details of my ideal personal and professional life. It forced me to take the time to consider my personal values and expose what was honestly most important to me. I began to explore thoughts of family, spirituality, and desire for wisdom, integrity, and the freedom dividends of discipline.
My Personal Vision: (Five to seven years from today)
- Who I am: I value relationships more than material possessions around me. Positive thoughts are what drive my actions and negative thoughts are dealt with from a realistic perspective—but are not dwelled upon. My words are carefully chosen and I am conscious of not letting unhealthy words flow into the environment around me. I manage my time with priority given for my family and myself. I continue to grow by taking necessary reflection time in retreating and journaling about who I am and where I want to be. I am disciplined, empathetic, generous, and humble.
- My relationships: My family has always been, and will continue to be, one of the strongest relationships in my life. Other relationships that are flourishing around me include a broad range of acquaintances and a small blessing of deep friendships. The deep friendships come from people I am inspired by and those whom I’m able to help grow.
- My setting: My ideal setting is twofold. I own property in Ohio, which is where my career is, where I raise my children, and where I am surrounded by family. My home is modest, yet comfortable. The yard is large enough to fence for our beloved family dog, to plant vegetables and teach our children how to work in the garden. The second ideal setting is a vacation home in southern Florida. The amenities in the Florida condo are also modest, but in a location that is accessible to a major airport and less than twenty miles to a beach. It has become a wonderful vacation home for my immediate and extended family. Close friends are also able to use this space as a retreat for personal reflection and for long weekends. We use this to de-stress from the world around us and are able to enjoy nature, sunrises and sunsets, palm trees, and beach walks.
- My health and physical well-being: As I have continued to discipline other aspects of my life, I have also matured in the recognition of diet and necessary moderate exercise. My lifestyle will include fresh vegetables, grilled protein, and will be focused on moderation. The value of being healthy will also be taught to my children so that as they grow they appreciate what is “good” and important for a healthy and active lifestyle.
- My spirituality: My personal relationship with God has continued to grow and will always be a journey. I have grown in areas of wisdom because I am making love-driven decisions directed by my spiritual guide. These actions encourage those around me to do the same because they see the joy that I am reaping.
- My career: I am continuously evolving as an authentic leader. I have grown in my professional verbal and written skills so that I am now a clear, more direct communicator. I’m excited about the potential to grow my team to be successful and to reach the goals they set for themselves. I have improved my self-awareness and my social-awareness in order to effectively communicate and manage the different personality styles around me.
Mapping Personal Vision to the Organization
I identified my personal top three values to be relationships, wisdom, and truth. I then mapped these values over the values of the small consulting firm I was working for as the sales and marketing manager . I considered the integrity of the way employees were treated (including myself), and I spent time reflecting on how the values and vision compared to mine.
The Innovative Leadership Fieldbook was my guide in evaluating several questions under the following categories:
- What do I think/believe?
- What do I do?
- What do we (the organization) believe?
- How do we do this?
Evaluating these four areas prompted my decision that my current role was not meeting my beliefs in how an organization should carry integrity and was not operating in a financial manner that I consider wise or disciplined. I realized how the financial decisions of the organization were impacting my life in unpredictable ways and considered what this meant for my colleagues. I began to explore the concept that the organization’s values were going against my grain.
Completing the exercise allowed me to acknowledge the feelings I was subconsciously suppressing and name the issues that I had concerns about. I realized that I was ready to discover the next step chapter in my career.
Movin’ on up!
Once my personal vision and values were defined, I set out on a mission to find an organization that had similar focuses. My criterion was straightforward.
- I wanted to find an organization that allowed me the freedom in the evenings and on weekends to spend time with my family without feeling guilty.
- I wanted to find an organization that practiced integrity for their customers, vendors, and employees.
- I also wanted to find an organization that had a reputable name that I could be proud of representing.
- I wanted to find an organization focused on growth, both with the business model and with growth of the already invested employees.
- I wanted to work for a leader that I could learn from and who understood my values.
Fortunately, I was blessed and to have a few opportunities from which to choose. However, it was quite challenging to determine the best fit from two offered positions.
The most difficult choice was making a decision based on my personal values, rather than society enforced values. I battled with myself and wrote out what I was competing with. I needed the process of airing my thoughts so that I could gain perspective and make decisions.
Essentially, I followed a process to:
- Identify each barrier that was holding me back;
- Write about it and why I felt this was a barrier;
- Write about ways to overcome the barrier;
- Obtain different perspectives from designated support groups;
- Make a decision and create change.
My current role
My current role is customer relations manager and I am able to pull together what I learned about myself by type and leadership perspective capacity. I’m excited to see how I can better serve our clients and the members of my current team, and I look forward to learning from each of them.
Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible, iHeartRADIO, and NPR One. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.
Photo credit: www.flickr.com robert ball