Reflecting on Creating My Vision – What do I do?

Innovative Leadership Workbook - What do I do?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 gather input from key stakeholders to incorporate into my vision (family, business, self)?
  • How do I research trends that will impact my industry so I can understand my future placement and how to navigate potential transitions in my industry?
  • How do I synthesize competing goals and commitments to create a vision that works for me in the context of the communities I serve (family, friends, work, and community)?
  • How do I develop my vision taking the greater economic conditions into account?
  • What do I tell others about my vision? Do I have an “elevator speech”?  Is it something I think is inspirational?

Let’s look at how Demetrius answered two of the reflection questions. His answers served as input for his leadership development plan (see prior post for his vision statement and prior reflection questions). If you are reading this series for the first time, Demetrius is an emerging leader providing the case study for this exercise.

  • How do I gather input from key stakeholders to incorporate into my vision (family, business, self)? I recently had a conversation with my wife about my vision for my career. In particular, do I continue to work toward becoming a ‘C’ level executive within an organization, or do I turn my attention to owning my own business. I have also spoken with colleagues and previous supervisors about their assessment of my strengths and weaknesses. I have asked these groups of individuals because I trust they will provide honest feedback—whether they may or may not agree with my own assessment of myself. While I’m not looking for them to make a decision for me, I do value their opinions and their viewpoints. At the end of the day, I will take time to internalize the information that I have received from them to formulate a plan of action, but the final decision will be made after some introspection.

 

  • How do I synthesize competing goals and commitments to create a vision that works for me in the context of the communities I serve (family, friends, work and community)? For me this has been a constant dilemma. While I believe in putting my family above all else, I also know there are times that I have to put work first to create a better sense of stability for my family. The way I handle this is to envision the future I want for my family and set incremental milestones to achieve those goals. One such goal was going back to school and completing my MBA. This meant sacrifices on my wife’s part, but at the same time we knew that if I completed the program quickly it would have less of an impact on our family and a bigger reward in our future. As part of setting those milestones, my wife and I periodically revisit them to see what is still relevant and make course corrections to ensure we are still on path, or, if need be, forge a new path.

Now that you have read Demetrius’ responses, how would you respond to a few of these questions?

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

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.

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