The business world is experiencing massive disruption and the phenomenal speed of change that got us to the 21st century’s technological frenzy is not going to slow down any time soon. Competition is intensifying. The world is getting smaller. There is an abundance of everything everywhere.
We are being challenged every day to invent and create, to develop and explore, to be agile in our thinking and innovative in our solutioning. The one resource that is scarce, however, is you – your skills, your vision, your values, your thinking and your ability to lead. The ability to build personal positioning and to lead out with confidence and conviction, to influence decisions, behaviour and strategy is critical to driving change. And here’s why:
- It Starts With You
The starting point is leadership of self. You have to believe in yourself, first and foremost. Your dream and vision for yourself and your business future is yours, and until you get this sorted there is no leading out. Choose to be real, to be a leader who has clarity and belief in what they are doing and why; who is brave, honest and authentic. Step in to your spotlight and share your message with conviction because being authentic benefits everyone. Leading out is attention out. Only in this way can you truly give your best to other people and create the safe space for them to become the best version of themselves.
- Move From Me to We
Great opportunity to influence exists when you enter the WE space of collaborating and working together. This involves being outward facing, having confidence in the skills and insight you are bringing to the table and knowing the opportunity that exists in the space of sharing and debate. Moving from Me to We means sharing knowledge, insight and intellect. This is where future-proofing begins as ideation evolves and strategic plans are hatched. Collaboration means we are smarter together, we move quicker together and the diversity and constant change within the world in which we are now operating is naturally demanding new solutions that we cannot solve alone.
- Build Your Intellectual Bank
When there is a true and mutual value exchange between those who see the value in working together to up skill, to engage their thought processes, to become more together than they are now in terms of their intelligence then a new form of currency is created – the intellectual bank. Why not suggest to a colleague that you ‘swap’ a skill for a skill? Create internal learning hubs. Teach each other something you previously had no knowledge of, make introductions, suggest connections. Build the intellectual bank by embracing the strengths and skills of others around you and as a result create more opportunity to influence others.
- Full Disclosure
To lead out and become more influential, it is imperative that we are individually clear on our own value systems and why these are important to us. We have to give ourselves permission to live and breathe these values in every behaviour, decision and action we take. Equally we have to know and accept for ourselves and for others that our values may be different. We have to learn to accept and not judge; to work with and not against; to amplify others and not squash. If we are to create the organisations and teams that we want to work within, that we want others to enjoy being part of and to build something more than the service or product that is being sold, the soul of the business has to permeate everything – and this is more than just words making up a mission statement to be pinned to a wall. Organisational culture is not created – it is the culmination of individual behaviours and value systems.
- Build Your Network
A strategically smart personal network is your lifeline. It has the ability to transform, to give individuals and businesses an edge. The cross-fertilisation of connections, skills and ideas that are openly discussed and shared through network creation, in their turn create new opportunities, innovation and new solutions to existing problems. Build a circle of influence that understands what you want to achieve and whom you want to support in kind.
Each of us needs to stand solidly in our space of expertise and have the confidence to lead ourselves and those around us.
We need to collectively embrace the opportunity that exists when we build diverse networks, create cultures with the freedom to discuss, debate and ideate, where the strength of individual thought leadership and expertise can be reinforced through working together.
Your career and your business need you to lead out with self confidence and conviction. We need you to bring all of you to help the rest of us shine too.