Creating a personal leadership strategy is important to all leaders. Such a plan ensures you have a coherent method to lead and inspire your up and coming leaders, managers, and team members.
In the last leadership article, you saw how to use the Leadership Inspiration and Action Spheres to help leaders inspire action and results. The method introduced you to a method of ensuring anyone working with you is strongly inspired by a solid message of why, how, what, and what outcome is expected.
Now you’ll see how to take the Leadership Inspiration and Action Spheres model to create your personal leadership plan or strategy. I call this leadership strategy the Personal Leadership Action Nexus (or PLAN for short).
You’ll find searching online for personal leadership action plans or strategies that most are really development plans. That is, they are designed to help you understand yourself as a leader. Some even mix leadership and management as if they are nearly the same thing. They definitely are not the same thing. The PLAN (Personal Leadership Action Nexus) is not a personal development plan.
The PLAN is called an action nexus because it is intended to be the corps or central element of all your subordinate plans in your company, factory, cause, or team. It is the central piece for you and your subordinates to guide all your projects, strategies and plans. The Personal Leadership Action Nexus will enable you to get the right message to inspire the big and small picture of how your company and team move ahead. It keeps all subordinate PLANs coherent across all efforts in your company or under your direct leadership.
Tools to Help Create Your Personal Leadership Action Nexus
First, remember this is not to re-write your mission statements or other company guiding documents. Honestly, most companies I have seen have very boring and uninspiring mission statements. Most of them just say what a company does, which everyone knows and this is very boring.
However, you will want to have company documents available for reference because they will help you ensure you stay on the right path. It’s important your Personal Leadership Action Nexus blends with the company, especially if you’re not the Owner, CEO or a member of the board.
This means having a copy of your company vision, company mission statement, and any other goals or guidance existing from the top office. It’s always important you keep your leadership focused on the company’s goals. The problem often is, the company defining statements don’t do a very good job.
If you’re not the business owner or CEO, often you will find you can recommend this same process to develop the company vision and mission to be more exciting and inspiring to everyone working there. This is an after effect. Let’s look at how to complete your PLAN.
In this process through real-life practice, I’ve found that the process works best when you know the outcome you desire from your efforts. Steven Covey made this clear in his famous The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. His number two “habit” is “begin with the end in mind.” Only the leader knows what he wants to get in the end. Starting with no idea what this is makes everything you do disconnect.
Everything you do will revolve around what you want to achieve. So be creative.
In this part of the process, you will want to know specific goals first. List from 5 to 10 specific goals. Then use these goals to decide on your ultimate outcome.
Create a minimum of 5 outcomes. This will help you brainstorm and then combine ideas into your ultimate outcome.
With a well thought out outcome, you can then complete the remaining spheres. I recommend you follow the order here for your process. However, at this point you may find doing the “what” part is easiest. The order isn’t as important now, once you have the outcome.
As many have observed, consumers and potential clients buy into your “why” more than any other aspect of what you do. This is true of the people working for you as well. They perform best when knowing why. This will be the key to inspiring cohesive leadership throughout your organization, regardless of its size.
To create a high level why for your organization or company you must know and understand certain things.
First, you must know your organization’s core values. This is the heart and soul of the why of what you do. Core values are:
- What tells everyone what kind of legacy you seek for the company
- The internal guide or compass keeping you moving in the right direction
- Tell everyone what your organization believes is most important.
- What creates the vision and provides the pathway to realizing this vision when they followed by everyone.
List potential core values, and then select the 5 that is most key to your leadership and how your company or organization functions.
Then think of character traits that serve these core values the best. Character traits are what individuals must possess to effectively live your company’s core values. These are the distinctive features each member of your team exhibits as a group. Character traits should be able to be described or measured and can be both physical or emotional.
Create a list of as many character traits as you can think of which are important in your organization and to living your core values. Then parse the list to the five most important character traits.
Now you have what is necessary to create your “why.”
Write out a minimum of 5 whys and then ultimately pick your best one. You may find you end up mixing and matching what you came up with when creating the 5 whys to get your best one.
To complete your “how” first you should understand what major skills and resources are needed. Though you may not use the skills or resources in your final “how” statement, this will help you understand that you can really achieve the how.
Create a list of key skills and resources needed for your company to achieve your outcome. This is high level, but list as many as you can think. Then parse them down to a list of 5 skills and a list of 5 resources.
Now create your “how” statement. Don’t get complicated. Write 5 how statements and then find the one you think is the best. You may find you want to combine elements of all 5 to make the winner. Two examples are included in the worksheet you can download here. The more you can say in the fewest words is best.
Your “what” is last because it is generally the easiest to come up with. In fact, most companies lead with the what because everyone already understands this.
The problem is, the “what” is the most un-inspirational part of the PLAN process. It’s true no leadership or action plan is complete without this, but the “what” is not what others buy into. The “why” is the real soul of the inspiration. The “what” is just a block rounding off the process.
Take the time to write out 5 different what statements and then choose the best one.
Completing Personal Leadership Action Nexus
You best do this process as the leader by completing the PLAN process on your own.
Once you’ve done this, then you should bring in your team and let them brainstorm it with you. This will allow you to properly coach them since you did this on your own. It will also get ideas you likely didn’t consider so you can be sure to get inside the minds of your key team members.
To make the process simpler, I have a worksheet you can download here. The worksheet is simple to use and enables you to collect many inputs in a very organized fashion. You can then display the winners automatically. The worksheet can be shared online with your team. Click below now to download this Personal Leadership Action Nexus worksheet.