During the month of December 2012, 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 last week’s blog post, 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 What do I think/believe. In the coming weeks we will post questions from the other three categories.
- How do I see myself in the future? What trends do I see around me that impact this view? Have I considered how these trends impact the way I want to contribute?
- How does my view of myself impact me? Am I inspired by my vision? Terrified?
- How do I see myself within the larger environment? This can range from my family, the company, to the global environment.
- After doing the exercises, what is my vision?
- After doing the exercises, what are my values? What do I stand for? What do I stand against?
- What are the connections between my business vision and my personal mission, passion, and economic goals?
Let’s look at how Demetrius answered two of the reflection questions. His answers served as input for his leadership development plan (see last weeks post for his vision statement). Check back next week for his answers to the three remaining categories.
What do I think/believe?
- How do I see myself in the future? One thing I have always believed to be a constant in my life is that change is inevitable. As a leader, I believe it is my responsibility to my organization and to the teams that I lead to embrace and prepare for change. I see myself being the conduit to change that will enable growth for me, my family, and my peers, company, and community. I believe individuals are more willing to accept change if they have a road-map to guide them. If I understand the potential risks and rewards associated with any forthcoming change, I can plan a course of action that will enable me to capitalize on the rewards, while mitigating or eliminating the risks. I also understand that I will not have an answer for everything, and when a situation arises I still need to stay levelheaded and forward-thinking to help guide the aforementioned groups through the process of change.
- How does my view of myself impact me? Am I inspired by my vision? Terrified? After completing my undergraduate degree in computer science engineering, I began reading a variety of books that I didn’t pick up while in school. One such book was Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. In his book I found a common theme that has become the basis for many aspects of my life: A made up mind is the most powerful thing a person can have. So, am I inspired by my vision? Absolutely! I envisioned myself walking across the stage as a graduate, I envisioned contributing at a high level within my organization, I envisioned leading—and not simply managing—teams. In each vision I could see the impact it would have on me and the people around me. With each vision, I made up my mind that it was the right thing for me to do and I let that vision guide me to reach my goals. At the same time, I am mindful that there is still a ton of growth and learning that I have to do in my career and in my personal life. I make it a point to learn from everyone around me and in each encounter that I have. Every individual has some knowledge that they can share—intentionally or not—if you take the time to listen.
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 Humphrey King