September marks the beginning of fall, back to school, Labor Day, and, for many Americans on the East and Gulf Coast, the peak of hurricane season. As a resident of Florida, I am particularly sensitive to the annual ritual of hurricane preparation; stockpiling of water, batteries, candles, canned and paper goods, and making sure we have an evacuation plan in place.
This got me thinking about leadership and the importance of planning. The leaders’ role involves staying centered in the eye of the storms that inevitably will swirl around. Consider these questions as you do an annual check-up of your leadership readiness:
Do you have a vision for what you are trying to accomplish?
Has it been shared with and embraced by others whose help you need?
Are there systems in place for managing commitments for results?
Are you prepared with strong and clear communications systems?
What is missing from your preparation that could help you weather a leadership storm?
Are you able to remain calm in the center of a storm?
If we continue the hurricane-preparation analogy, have you stocked up on supplies to get you through? For example, do you have engaged employees who have the bandwidth, motivation and capability to rally toward the goal, day in and day out? It not, what are you doing about it?
Do you have what it takes to remain calm in the center of a storm? What number would you give yourself on a scale of 1-10? What number would your employees give you? What is the value of having enough resilience to be calm in a storm?
Many leaders are finding themselves under increased pressure to perform and do more with less. This takes a toll on them personally, including chronic stress, and difficulties with health, clarity and decisiveness. If you or members of your team are experiencing these systems consistently, it’s time to do something about it. Before you consider the cost of doing nothing, consider the following troubling statistics:
Disabling stress doubled in the U.S. since 1990
1 MM people miss work daily due to stress-related disorders
Only 1 in 5 Americans wake up looking forward to going to work (USA today poll)
Just as we invest time and effort in preparing ourselves for storms, leaders can and should do the same.
What are you doing about preparedness as a leader? What are you practicing to be prepared? Is the mood in your organization one of possibility and resolve to come up with creative, satisfying solutions? Or has there been a mood of entrenchment and “hunkering-down” based on fear?
Because we become what we practice, examine the practices you have in place. All of us are already practicing something. What we practice we will get more of in the future.
Are you ready to create new practices, ones that serve you and others to get the results you desire? Take the Step Up Leader I.Q. Test to gauge your current situation.
Creating calm in the center of the storm allows leaders to weather the intensity of rapid technological change, global economic shifts, and competitive inroads. Set your sights on being that “eye” so even when the hurricane winds may swirl around you, you will be the one standing.