The Total Leader® Newsletter - February 2023
The 'Success is in your Systems' issue
Welcome to the February issue of The Total Leader® Newsletter.
We hope you've had a great start to 2023 with some notable victories under your belt already. Have you got those successes recorded anywhere - both for you as an individual and for the team? If not, we definitely recommend starting an accomplishments record, or a 'Progress & Victories' list as we like to call it, so that your achievements, both large and small, are front of mind. This serves three major purposes:
It helps to motivate on the tough days when things haven't gone your way. A reminder of (recent) past successes helps to fuel motivation and desire to keep going, to work hard and complete the task in hand.
It builds confidence in your ability to succeed. "We've achieved X, Y and Z before so we can certainly do this." This is one reason why client testimonials are so good: it's not just about highlighting your credentials to potential new customers; it's a confidence boost to the whole team.
Finally, your accomplishments record helps to inform you about where you should be focusing your efforts. "We achieved X which was a fantastic result. What did we do that caused X to come about? Let's make sure we continue to do that, and perhaps even more so, in order to achieve more Xs!"
Recording your victories is just one part of systemising your organisation processes which we'll explore further below.
Systemise Your Success
We've called this newsletter 'the systems issue' because we believe that creating and then adhering to great systems is one of the most important jobs a leader can do. Without systems, success depends on individual brilliance, or at least the ability of people to remember what they should be doing ALL THE TIME. If we get it right 19 times and then forget, or make a mistake on the 20th occasion, that can lead to a major issue. Perhaps a lost contract, forgetting to do something critical to a process that ends up costing lots of time &/or money as well as reputational damage. Most of the time though, our errors and mistakes simple mean that we are less effective than we could be and this can have a significant impact on our productivity, our morale and motivation, our relationships and ultimately the level of success we attain as individuals, teams and entire organisations.
(We are not talking here about 'mistakes' that come from trying new things and exploring new possibilities - these are the kinds of mistakes that are to be embraced for learning and growth, and for which time and resource should, you guessed it, be systemised!)
We could look at each element of the Total Leader ® - Personal Productivity, Personal Leadership, Motivational Leadership and Strategic Leadership - and see that in every part of these, it's the systems that we create and follow that will determine how successful we are. See section below - Bite Sized Total Leader® for examples.
We don’t rise to the level of our goals. We fall to the level of our systems.
James Clear (Atomic Habits)
For more on this, see our November 2022 issue where we discussed the Four Foundations in more depth, with particular reference to Foundation #3 - PROCESS. In summary, first we must know where we going and what success looks like. Second we should be clear about why that is important i.e. what's the purpose behind the goal.
Thirdly, we need to build infrastructure, with repetition, shaping our attitudes and behaviours that will enable us to stay on track day after day, week after week, long beyond the initial buzz of starting out on a new path. In other words, we need a system.
A system for how we start, and finish, each day will keep us focused on high payoff activities.
A system for how we schedule and conduct key meetings will help us communicate and collaborate effectively.
A system for how we set, track and review goals will keep us heading in the right direction with clear priorities.
We could go on.
Good organisational systems have been likened to having a 'second brain'. Committing as much as possible to your second brain frees up as much mental energy as possible - your 'first brain'- for your to bring your talents and creativity, your best problem solving and relationship skills to the table as often as possible and for as long as possible. Something definitely worth investing in.
Bite-size Total Leader®
Leaders are faced continually with multiple, diverse situations and developing in all four core leadership elements gives a distinct advantage - like an actor who can convey the whole range of emotions, or a golfer who is brilliant from the rough or a bunker as well as off the tee.
In this section you’ll find practical bite-size ideas that can help sharpen your own leadership skills, with focus on developing your systems.
1. Personal Productivity
Review how much of your day-to-day activity is systemised as opposed to happening ad-hoc. Emails, for example: do you respond in a planned and routine way around other prioritised activity or as and when they arrive whatever else you might be doing at the time? Your productivity can be enhanced dramatically when everything that you encounter repeatedly in a normal week is dealt with in a planned and structured manner.
2. Personal Leadership
Following systems for your own personal development and wellbeing is tremendously helpful. A quarterly Wheel of Life review, for example, will help you evaluate where you are and set meaningful goals to address any necessary changes in all areas of life, with sufficient frequency to ensure that no issue remains unaddressed for extended periods.
3. Motivational Leadership
In the introduction to this issue we discussed celebrating successes. This is one aspect of motivational leadership that can be systemised to good effect. Routinely making space in meetings, for example, for each person to share progress and victories, and learn from them is a hugely motivational practice and yet, when we talk to leaders, so many would say they don't do this enough. The solution? Build it in. Make it part of your standard process.
4. Strategic Leadership
In the midst of the constant operational challenges, it's frightening easy for quality time to spend on the big picture - to review and refine strategy - to get sidelined at the expense of whatever the latest fire that needs fighting happens to be. These are the real day-to-day challenges of leadership. Peter Drucker said, "Nothing distinguishes a leader so much as their tender loving care of time." Make regular monthly and quarterly time for strategy, together with whoever else needs to be involved in those conversations, sacred. Fix them as part of your planning system and protect them. They are crucial to your long-term success.
Leadership development is not a one-off event and leadership is not simply a role or title, rather it’s a way of thinking and behaving. The best leaders are Total Leaders® and the most successful organisations develop leaders throughout the entire organisation.
The Careers Podcast
January’s edition of The Careers Podcast was a little different - a discussion with host John Rose and LMI UK’s Director, Nick Howes about the importance of goal setting. The target audience is young adults, but the content is worth a listen for anyone needing a reminder of why and how to set effective goals. Click the image below to listen:
Foundations of Success Workshop
(2 hour online - goals / planning / time management / communication
10th February & 28th February
“I nearly cancelled. I’m so glad I didn’t!” FIRST TWO PLACES FREE FOR ANY UK ORG.
Effective Personal Productivity kick off (Online open programme)
3rd March 2023 - Total Leader® Part 1
Life-changing productivity improvement for you and the team you lead.
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