During the months of December 2012 – January 2013, we will be posting a blog series focused on helping leaders define their personal vision. If you plan annual goals, this series of exercises may serve as a helpful foundation. Each week you will see another post designed to guide you in identifying what is most important to you. First, you will define your future, and from that vantage point, clarify your vision and values. You will then consider what you want to do professionally, as well as the type and extent of the impact you want to have on the world. We will also provide examples from Demetrius and Jonathan, both emerging leader during this blog series. This blog series is an excerpt from the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers and also part of our comprehensive leadership development program.
To help you develop your action plan, building on your vision from blog posts in December, it is time to further clarify your direction using the reflection questions, “What do I think/believe?” reflects your intentions. “What do I do?” questions reflect your actions. “What do we believe?” reflects the culture of your organization (i.e., work, school, community), and “How do we do this?” questions reflect systems and processes for your organization. This exercise is an opportunity to practice innovative leadership by considering your vision for yourself and how it will play out in the context of your life. You will define your intentions, actions, culture, and systems in a systematic manner. This week’s questions will focus entirely on how do we do this? This question helps clarify the systems and processes within your organization that impact your vision. Next week we will post questions from the one remaining category.
- How do I monitor the organization’s impact on my vision? How do I honor my vision when helping define/refine the organizational vision?
- What is our process for defining/refining changes to our shared vision for the organization and other systems I function within? What is our process for clarifying and documenting our values? How do I ensure that my values are aligned with our guiding principles?
- Who gives me feedback on their perspective of my progress? How often? What form would I like this feedback to take?
- What measures help me determine progress toward my vision and values? How do I track and report progress toward these goals? Is my behavior supporting the organizational goals? Are the organizational goals supporting my goals?
Let’s look at how Demetrius answered two of the reflection questions. His answers served as input for his leadership development plan (see prior posts for his vision statement and other answers). Check back next week for his answers to the remaining category. If you are reading this series for the first time, Demetrius is an emerging leader providing the case study for this exercise.
- Who gives me feedback on their perspective of my progress? How often? What form would I like this feedback to take? I believe feedback comes in many forms and it comes on a daily basis. For example, when we conduct product reviews with our clients, I take a scan of the individuals to gain a general sense of the feeling within the room. Then, as the presentation comes to a close, I begin to listen to feedback. If I notice a look of concern or confusion, I make it a point to ask the individual about any concerns. This gives people an opportunity to voice any issues they have, and it gives me an opportunity to clear up any confusing points. The feedback given at these reviews is directed at the team, but it’s also an indirect indication of the job that I’m doing. I also use a more direct approach of simply asking for feedback on a regular basis. I’m a firm believer of not waiting until a yearly review to give feedback to members of my team, or to find out how I’m progressing. If you wait until the end of the year or you wait until your yearly review, it’s too late to change something that happened six months earlier. However, if I am actively seeking feedback on a regular basis, I can make course adjustments and I have a better chance to correct the behavior before my annual review.
- What measures help me determine progress toward my vision and values? How do I track and report progress against these goals? Is my behavior supporting the organizational goals? Are the organizational goals supporting my goals? As a practicing project manager, I believe in periodically checking progress on my primary projects. The same is to be said about my vision, my values, and my goals. When it comes to my values, I’m constantly making sure that I’m staying true to them and take time to ensure that my values are still in line with my visions of the future. At the same time, I use my short- and long-term goals as stepping stones to the next portion of my vision of the future. I work to keep my values, short- and long term goals aligned so that as I complete one set of goals and approach the next, I can start working on generating the next set of goals that are necessary to actualize my vision.
Now that you have read Demetrius’ responses, how would you respond to a few of these questions?
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 Dion Hinchcliffe