The future is as bright as you want it to be. Is your life looking up and is your career headed in the right direction? There was a time in my life when things did not look so good. I had a good job, I was married and had two wonderful daughters, but my life was headed in the wrong direction. I turned it around and it took a lot of work. But most of all it took planning and initiative. This blog is the first of three that will lead you in the right direction towards individual success as a leader of yourself and others.
PLAN FOR ACTION
You have decided to take steps to improve your leadership skills to get that new job, or to start your own company, or venture into a new career in a different industry. You are ready to work on your new idea and take action. But the question is, do you have a plan for these actions?
“An idea without action is dreaming,
action without a targeted goal is wasted effort,
an idea passionately executed can lead to success!”
Making a plan and writing it down gives you a map to follow when you wander away from the path of your targeted goal. It helps to explain it to others who can help you reach your goals.
When you are planning to sail uncharted waters that you have not traveled before, you need a map or plan that you understand to guide your way. We humans have tremendous capacity to shape and change our own destiny, but it takes thinking, planning and execution. I agree with Albert Einstein who said this about creating a plan, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Keep it simple!
1. Plan to be different!
Plan to separate yourself from other potential leaders. Go out and buy a new coloring book and many different colored markers. Color the picture as it has never been colored before; pink skies, blue grass, yellow trees. This simple exercise will help you to escape from the boundaries put on you by your parents, teachers, and supervisors without disturbing anyone.
When was the last time you planned to do something wacky or crazy… just for the fun of it?
Plan to read a book about something you have never read before. Plan to take time to talk to a new employee that you have never spoken to before. Plan to have lunch with the “smartest” person in your organization. Write these things down in your journal, plan a day and time to do them, set a reminder for yourself in your cell phone and don’t just plan it… Just Do It!!!
2. Every successful leader keeps some type of journal
Electronically or on paper, make a plan and write it down. Review it every day and use it to prioritize your daily, weekly and monthly tasks. We all forget things from time-to-time. We do not ever know which opportunity or contact will be the best one, so write down all of them. Have a source you can refer to and to use as a guide to stay on track when you are over-tasked! It does not have to be a rigid schedule, and it can be changed as needs arise. But It needs to be like a personal secretary for you.
3. Plan on results!
We are often told to make a list of things we need to do this week or this month to check them off as we complete them. But when the time period is ending, and we have not finished everything, we are pressured to meet our own self-imposed deadline. This is because we put things on our list that we should have given to others to do.
If you want to get more things done, pass some of them on to your subordinates. Give them a chance to grow professionally by completing some of the tasks you usually do yourself. In order not to fall back into the habit of doing these things, that someone else can do, make yourself a Don’t-Do-List.
This is highly recommended by Tom Peters in his brilliant book Essentials Series: Leadership, The Brand You 50. Post it up where you usually sit to make your To-Do-List. They waste your precious time, and you put them on the bottom of your list because you didn’t want to do them anyway! Right?
“Excellence is a gradual result of always striving to do better!”
— Pat Riley
Make a plan to take responsibility for your own results. Start holding yourself accountable and stop blaming the people and conditions around you for your lack of success. Make a schedule of activities you know you need to do to improve and follow through to make sure you do them. Set lofty goals for yourself, plan to operate with speed and intensity, and don’t focus on effort… focus on results.
Find something that you are good at and plan to do it better than anyone else. Know which technologies you need to master and which ones to pass on to other people to do. The best life can get is when people pay you to do something that you love to do. Plan to do more of it.
“Some people WANT it to happen, some people WISH it would happen, others MAKE it happen!”
— Michael Jordan
Your success starts with you. You have to decide what you want to do and make a plan to achieve it. Every day every week, hold yourself accountable! It will inevitably lead you to improvement!
For more Actions and Quotes about becoming a successful leader read the first book in my Leadership Series, Looking Up!