Leaning into Autumn: What Needs to Leave?

Susan S Freeman Blog


Summer is over.  Officially.  We are now in our first week of autumn.  Fall festivals are upon us, and for those who live in warmer climates, it feels as if summer heat will never give way to cooler breezes.  For people in organizations, we begin the final push to year end–Q4.   Traditionally this is the time when budget decisions are made for the year ahead, and often a time when companies engage in strategic or annual business planning processes.

As nature signals time for things to slow down, for trees to shed their leaves, for grass and flowers to begin to fade, it’s a good time to think about what leaders can shed as well.  In our efforts to race to the end, we often don’t slow down enough to process the bigger picture.

AutumnHere’s a list of my top 10 questions for Q4 “Autumn” exploration to get you started:

  1. Where is my/our focus?
  2. Am I clear about what/who I value?
  3. Am I doing the activities and behaviors that are aligned with my values?
  4. Do I take time for myself every single day to become a centered, present leader, or do I “sell out” and tell myself “I’m too busy?”
  5. Do I make enough time to have effective conversations, or am I rushing to move to the next thing?
  6. Am I consistently getting to what matters most, or am I always busy, yet unable to have the impact I desire?
  7. Do I read material, especially books, on a regular basis, to expand my understanding of the world?
  8. Do I value failure, really, and how do I know that?
  9. When the clock strikes midnight on 12/31/18, what will I regret not having done this year?
  10. If I could make one small change in Q4 that would positively impact others in my organization, what would it be?

In leadership, as in nature, there is a season for everything.  I invite you to make sure that your seasons include not just the nuts and bolts that produce business results.  Fall can be a time to go inward a bit more, and prepare yourself for adjustments that can make a difference.

Here’s to letting go of old habits.  May they fall away from you like the brilliant autumn leaves whose time has passed so that new growth can appear.


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