The purpose of this month’s feature article titled “How to Turn the Page on 2014” is designed to be a reality check. It is our hope that it will be. It has been said that one of the definitions of insanity is when a person continues to do the same things, but expects different results. If we are honest about ourselves and our current situations, we would have to agree at least in some part with this very telling definition.
With that definition then in mind, what are we to do? How do we stop making the same mistakes professionally, personally? How do we change the outcomes of our situations? How do we make 2015 a turning point year, where down the road we can look back on the changes that we have made both personally and professionally and say, “Things changed when I did etc. etc. etc.”?
There are 5 great leadership principles regarding personal or corporate change.
First, everything, everything, EVERYTHING!, rises and falls on leadership.
Great leaders inspire, they encourage others, they have a vision, and they can articulate that vision freely. Great leaders create and maintain trust with associates and employees. They place great value on those who are a part of their team. They don’t use threats or intimidation to motivate their employees. Instead, they lead by example with right and fair dealing.
Second, as a leader, you will produce what you are.
This is a foundational principle and truth. Leaders don’t inspire and encourage others if they are not seeking themselves to be inspired and encouraged. As a leader, you will not create and maintain the trust of your associates and employees if you are not fundamentally at your own core, seeking to be an honest and trustworthy individual. A “life coach” or mentor could certainly be of help here, but only if the core of who we are is willing to change how we live our lives on the inside, which determines what we produce outside.
Third, the only way to change “output” is to intentionally change “input”.
Our brains, our computers, our bodies, our way of handling stress, dealing with people, managing conflict, etc. etc., all of these items have the same thing in common. The way you change the output is you change the input. And the only way you change your input is through deliberate and intentional action. What do you want to be different this year either personally or in your organization? It can happen, but only if you are willing to change your input. Do you want a different body? You have to feed it different fuel and intentionally change your lifestyle habits. Do you want a different organization? You have to feed it a different “YOU” by changing the input of your life, mentally and emotionally.
Fourth, in order to start something new, something old has to go.
There are only 168 hours in a week. There is not enough time to do everything. Priorities have to be established, goals have to be set, but also, something must be changed, altered, amended, discontinued, in order to reach your goals, whatever they may be. If you want to be more productive and set a different mindset in the office, the early coffee gossip session has got to go. And you do that by example, not by decree. The point is whatever you believe is key to changing your life or your organization, the implementation of that “something new” can only take place if whatever it is replacing is removed.
Fifth, for change to take root and become the new normal, you must be willing to adapt.
I am sure you have heard the saying, “Life is what happens while you are making other plans.” This just highlights how important it is to have the ability to adapt in every area of life, whether personal or professional. Change is inevitable. Things break down, people move on, technology advances, elections are held, etc, etc, etc. Our ability to adapt to, welcome, and navigate change will in large part be determined by how well we are really doing personally and professionally with commitment to understanding “that everything rises and falls on leadership, that we produce what we are, that we can only change our output if we make changes to our input, and that if we are really serious about that change, we will alter our lives, our schedules, and our habits, to be the type of leader we are fully capable of being.