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Get In Shape to Lead

Posted Oct 5th, 2023

Get in Shape to Lead

“The best way to predict the future is to create it”
Peter Drucker

As daylight hours lengthen and the promise of spring fills the air, we are hardwired to start thinking about new beginnings. We want to get in shape for the golf course, kayaking, running that marathon we have always wanted to do, or going on long bike rides.
This year, the Vancouver Winter Olympics have inspired us even further to set challenges for ourselves and our kids. What would it be like to feel the speed of a bobsleigh and hear the roaring sound as we bank a corner? Mogul ski racing and snowboarding look so exhilarating and not that difficult really. Zip lining seemed like a lot of fun, judging by the enormous line ups. We are feeling motivated to get in shape and enjoy the challenge and exhilaration of sport.

Get in Shape to Lead

Similarly, Spring is a good time to get in shape to lead. Are you a senior leader who is leading in a climate of constant change? Do you sometimes demonstrate impatience and distractibility? Do you question the way you set and stick to your priorities, manage your time, focus your attention on the important and make smart and timely decisions? Is your day full of firefighting and measurables that may lack meaning? Is your Inbox haunting you? As change is the new constant, and data increasingly floods our brains, we lose the ability to focus on what’s important, solve our problems, and handle the unknown. It is the steady normal. We must learn how to dance with it over the long term. It is a marathon, not a sprint, yet we act as if it were only a sprint. We run it like circuit training, believing that this level of intensity is sustainable and productive. It is neither.

Learned Resilience

More than ever before, effective leadership requires learned resilience. I will initiate discussion in my blog over the next few months on how one can develop this kind of resilience. It involves changing our beliefs, mental and behavioural habits, and our reactions so as to increase our capacity, clarity, calmness, and creativity.

What habits can we develop to build our resilience? I propose:

9 Habits of Resilience for Highly Effective Leaders

  1. The habit of building commitment to ourselves
  2. The habit of physical fitness:
  3. The habit of brain fitness: stilling the mind, developing patience
  4. More brain fitness: focusing the mind
  5. The habit of knowing our purpose: being in the flow; time as meaningful not just measurable
  6. The habit of integrative thinking ( creative and strategic thinking)
  7. The habit of daily reflection; planning, preparing, debriefing
  8. The habit of establishing and living Personal Operating Principles
  9. The habit of building and maintaining networks

Which habits are well developed in you now?

Which do you need to focus on so as to increase your capacity, calmness, clarity or creativity?

Add your comments now.

See my April blog to read about Habit #1

Reference: “The Making of a Corporate Athlete” by Loehr & Schwartz, HBR http://www.hbr.org

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