Leadership Light

I love this quote by Edith Wharton, “There are two ways of spreading light…To be a candle or the mirror that reflects it.”In this season of light, I ponder what light represents in our lives and how that relates to our leadership. I love Edith Wharton’s perspective of spreading light, but what exactly does that mean?Spreading light comes in the form of lighting up a room. As leaders, we can light up a room with our presence; you know, by being fully present to others. We do this by listening without distraction and giving our full attention to those around us.We can also spread light through our attitudes and behaviors. We spread light through love, care, and compassion. Light takes away the darkness. We know that smiles are contagious and can be a great conduit to spreading light and love.As leaders, we can also be the mirror that reflects light. Through encouragement and support of those we lead, we see the light in their eyes, their behaviors, and in their attitudes. Mentoring those we lead and reflecting back their greatness is one of the most profound activities we can do as leaders.We also reflect light by “lightening” the load of others. We can help lighten the heaviness of others by supporting our teams literally and figuratively. We can support others in a variety of ways that don’t cost any money. Sometimes small acts of just listening, giving an encouraging word, or acknowledging others can be extraordinary and have lasting profound effects. Serving those we lead is an example of love-based leadership.Light in the darkness and lightening the load are profound ways we demonstrate love-based leadership. In this season of light, I wish you a blessed holiday season and a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.As always, I love to hear from you. How will you be a light to others today?With love,Maria

Great Leaders Are Full

Great leaders, who communicate and connect, fill their minds with the person in front of them. We feel this connection when others are fully engaged in what we are saying. We see it in their eyes, we feel it energetically, we know we are connected and drawn to that person and the moment. Presence is mindfulness. Mindfulness is found in the present, and when you are present, you show up.When we find this connection with others through mindfulness, we gain a deeper understanding of each other and of ourselves. Of course when we do, we are mind-full of their presence in the moment. We also understand ourselves better when we connect with others. It is not unusual with this deep union of souls, to see ourselves in those people with whom we feel connected. In a mindful state, empathy, connection, compassion, and equality surface to our consciousness. We see and feel each other as the same, without division and without judgment—we feel love.Not only is a mindful practice one that provides clarity, vision, connection, and beauty, but being present in the moment also confers peace of mind. Living in mindfulness is living in peace. This is especially relevant in our current culture plagued with chaos, competition, rage, and fear.How do you know when you’ve really been heard?With love,Maria

Innovation meets Implementation

“The innovation point is the pivotal moment when talented and motivated people seek the opportunity to act on their ideas and dreams.” -W. Arthur Porter

I recently attended an innovation conference for local governments where I learned of fantastic innovative solutions that some local governments are doing. First, there was a Park District that launched an idea dashboard where staff can upload ideas. Others can give the ideas a thumbs up or comment. Ideas grow here and through ongoing dashboard input, collaborative thinking in born. This park district has created and implemented several innovations that began on their idea dashboard.Another innovative solution was a local government that uses Alexa technology to help with light maintenance and customer assistance. They use inexpensive technology in creative and innovative ways to add services, while reducing costs.It starts with an idea in the mind and then action puts it into motion.How do we get into an innovative space? Try these 3 steps:

  • Get curious. Channel your inner 3-year old. Ask and dig from a place of curiosity.
  • Try the opposite. If you’ve always done it a certain way, try the opposite. See what happens and ask yourself and your team, “What else is possible?”
  • Be fast to acclimate. The quicker you are to acclimate and adapt to change, the quicker you will be able to innovate.

What are some innovations we could use in local government?With Love and To Your Success,Maria

Leadership in Local Government Culture

Local governments are at a crucial time in their evolution. Over 60% of local government employees are eligible to retire within the next five years. Wow, 60%!And if that isn’t significant enough, only 6% of current college students are even remotely thinking about public service.That means that we are potentially looking at a 54% gap of local government employees. The implications of the impact that we could experience from this gap are pretty profound!This gap, in this current day, requires an urgent and profound shift in the way local governments do business. The shift that I am talking about is a paradigm shift in organizational culture in local governments.OK, simply what does this mean?It means that we need to change the workplace culture in many cities and counties. First of all, we need to create a culture that will attract and retain a new workforce. Forbes released a study a few years ago that found that 95% of people looking for employment believed that culture was more important than compensation. 95%!Social sites like Glassdoor and Indeed openly discuss organizational culture with employee ratings and comments. Just like an entire generation chooses restaurants, hotels, movies, and most purchases based on ratings and comments, please know that they too, are choosing employers based on ratings and comments.Cultures that encourage innovation, entrepreneurial thinking, flexibility, challenge, growth opportunities, and meaningful experiences are cultures that are going to attract a new generation of eager employees.I love this work that we do with local governments, strategically and intentionally designing fantastic workplace cultures. Local governments are ripe for innovation, entrepreneurial thinking, and meaningful experiences. Build it and they will come!Secondly, cities and counties couldn’t possibly deliver the same services in the same way with 50% less people. We need to find different, innovative ways to serve our communities.As always, I love to hear from you. How would you describe a great workplace culture?With Love and To Your Success,Maria

5 Types of Power in Leadership

Power is a hot topic. Not all power is equal. In this video, I review the five types of power in leadership, how shared power can make followers uncomfortable, and some considerations you will be able to apply going forward.We have been taught for too long, to let others define our thoughts, feelings, jobs, lives, and meaning for us. What to think, what to wear, how to feel—is it any wonder we get nervous when we receive permission or power to make decisions or design aspects of our lives for ourselves?Like anything else in this world, all forms of power can be for the greater good or for selfish and egoic purposes. As we review these five types of power, consider your former bosses and your own leadership style as you prepare to better define what kind of leader you choose to become.I would love to hear from you. What is your go-to type of power and why?With love,Maria

Why Your Leadership Needs To Understand Personality Types

As we continue our understanding of leadership, today I want to expand our Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, by discussing the importance of understanding personality types in the workplace.Now, we’ve been hanging out together for a while and I just have to ask, Are you a square? No, not that kind of square!Maybe you’re a circle or a triangle?We can identify our personality tendencies with some simple geometry. Yikes - no formulas I promise!We are multi-dimensional people and have many sides to us. However, we have natural tendencies that we can relate to one or two specific shapes.It’s important to have representation of all of these shapes on your team and in your organization to bring different perspectives and ideas for problem-solving, and creating.As always, I love to hear from you. What shape do you identify with the most and what shape value do you bring to the table? What is the most challenging shape to work with and how have you learned to leverage those unique qualities of each personality type?With love,Maria

Truth & Transparency

We must learn to honor ourselves with truth.By being honest with ourselves and not allowing others’ non-truths into our psyche, we acknowledge that we love and respect ourselves.By respecting ourselves, we don’t accept other’s false realities. Iyanla Vanzant recognized that, for most of us, it isn’t difficult to tell when someone isn’t being truthful with us; the challenge is how to call them on their non-truth. She suggested we reply, “While that may sound truthful to you, it doesn’t feel truthful to me.”What a great line! When we are truthful and transparent with ourselves, we remember our divine nature and we do not let anyone treat us with a lack of respect or dignity.I’d love to hear your experiences, tell me about a time where you had an expectation not met and you had to work in truth and transparency to solve the situation?With love,Maria

Go Forth and Delegate

For many of the leaders I work with, delegation is a real struggle. Leaders resist delegating because we are so accustomed to doing the work ourselves. Many times, fear will rear its ugly head, thinking that if we want the work done correctly, we must do it ourselves. And then there is the time issue of communicating and training others to complete the task for us.Ahhh, but the benefits of delegation far outweigh the negativity that surrounds this illusive skill. When we delegate, we have more time for our high-priority tasks and we actually get to experience the joy of completing our tasks! Delegation increases our productivity and is a much better use of our resources.  Delegation gives us freedom.True, there are some tasks best kept to ourselves such as personal matters, confidential activities, crises, and activities that are specifically delegated to us. However, we can delegate paperwork, routine tasks, technical matters, tasks with developmental potential, and employee problems.Since we are not born with the delegation gene, we must learn this skill. It’s not as hard as you think! Just follow these four simple steps and you will be delegating before you know it:

  1. Explain the need for delegating, including the reasons why you selected that person to complete the task.
  2. Clearly set the objectives defining responsibility, level of authority, and deadlines.
  3. Develop a plan to achieve objectives, resources, and give the authority necessary to obtain those resources.
  4. Establish an accountability plan with checkpoints.

Which step is trickiest for you?Now go forth, delegate, and prosper!With love,Maria

With or Without Meaning?

Did you know the majority of heart attacks occur around nine o’clock on Monday mornings?One study showed that the most common factor in these heart attacks was that the victims were people whose work had become joyless striving. In other words, they could not find meaning in their work, and their lives had become so out of balance that, one Monday morning, their bodies said, “You are not going to work today. Zap.”1I remember a discussion I had with the general manager of a regional division, discussing with him the importance of finding meaning in work for our employees and leaders. His response was, “I think meaning at work is over-rated.” Overrated? We spend the vast majority of our adult lives at work.One of the primary purposes of a leader is to inspire vision and motivation in those he or she leads, and few things are more inspiring and motivating than meaningful work.If we don’t have meaning…what do we have? We must know the “why” behind the things we do, we are at unrest and certainly unmotivated.As always, I welcome your input. What is the most meaningful aspect of your job and why?With love,Maria1. J. A .Autrey, & S. Mitchell, Real power: Business lessons from the Tao Te Ching (New York: Riverhead Books, 1998), p. 23.

Is the F-word Killing Your Organization

I spoke at a professional organization state conference, SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) about the destructive nature of the f-word… FEAR in our organizations.In my presentation, I incorporated some very important statistics from a survey conducted by SHRM at the national level. I revealed some serious challenges that our local and global organizations will likely face over the next ten years. Here are some of the highlights from that study:

  • Top 3 challenges are retaining and rewarding the best employees, developing the next generation of leaders, and creating a corporate culture that attracts the best employees
  • 43% of HR professionals indicated that obtaining human capital (us) and optimizing human capital investments would be their biggest challenge
  • Most critical competencies include business acumen, organizational leadership, relationship management, and communication
  • Most effective tactics to rewarding employees include flexible work arrangements; creating an organizational culture where leadership demonstrates and emphasizes trust, open communication, and fairness; opportunities for career advancement; demonstrating commitment to employee development; and providing meaningful work with clear purpose in meeting organization objectives.

This is an eye-opening list as the focus is all about the people: developing the people, creating a culture that lifts up the people, and providing the environment for people to connect their head and heart. All of this points to the need to tap into their passion with meaning.However, one seemingly small act of injecting fear into the culture can have the effect of killing innovation, loyalty, and growth in a split-second. Fear is tricky because it has been the corporate “go-to” strategy for years, and we learned and we were taught how to “lead” with fear. True, fear will motivate people in a direction. But, be aware that using fear as a motivational tool comes with a price. The price of using that nasty “f-word” fear is:

  • Robs people of potential
  • Barrier of individual and organizational performance
  • Affects individual and organizational quality of life
  • Shifts focus away from productivity and innovation to CYA (cover your assets)
  • Destroys trust and loyalty
  • Causes silence and uncertainty. Just because people are not saying anything does not mean they have nothing to say.
  • Kills long-term motivation and commitment
  • Increases stress
  • Grows resistance
  • Shuts down ability to think creatively, collaborate, and bring passion/meaning to the job
  • People check out (both literally and figuratively)

Is fear killing your organization?With love,Maria

Leadership in Local Communities

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking to a local community Leadership cohort. I am sure that most communities have a local leadership program, usually through the Chamber of Commerce where aspiring community leaders learn all aspects of community leadership from local government to education. What a dynamic group of people I met from this particular cohort!This session focused on leadership in education. When I asked the group how they defined leadership, we heard several different perspectives. A common thread among those individuals included the ability to inspire others toward a goal.Leadership can be that simple and yet, that challenging. The complexity of leadership arises in the “inspiration” component because not all of us are inspired in the same way.Through my years of teaching, consulting, and leading, I do find the following seven factors key in inspiring others:

  • Authenticity – Transparency is here whether we like it or not. We have developed pretty good BS meters, so be who you are and stop trying to be someone else.
  • Approachability – If the people around us do not feel like they can approach us with a problem, or a solution, we open ourselves up to liability and close off innovation – think Enron.
  • Relatability – We are more alike than different, and the sooner we accept that, the sooner we can be open and authentic with one another.
  • Listening – When we stop to really listen to each other, what we hear can enlighten us with insight, answers, and solutions.
  • Decisiveness – Leaders, good leaders, are not afraid to make decisions. If they are not the right decisions, we can course correct. Remember, we cannot course correct if we do not get out on the course.
  • Openness – It is important for us to stay open to new ideas and ways of doing our work. Innovation does not come in doing the same thing repeatedly – think Einstein’s definition of insanity.
  • Trustworthy – Once we lose trust in others or ourselves, it is extremely difficult to get it back. Innovation, loyalty, and full-on engagement only comes when trust is present.

Inspiring leadership is a huge responsibility…and tremendously rewarding. Are you up for the challenge?

The Other F-Word

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking at a Women in Action conference. I discussed the impact that the F-word is having on our relationships, families, teams, organizations, and communities.The F-word we discussed was FEAR. We can re-frame fear, looking at it from different lenses. One of my favorite ways to think of fear is as an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. At the conference, I also shared how leading with love guides us out of the fear in which we are deeply immersed, especially during these times of fear-based thinking and living. Love is still stronger than fear every day of the week.During a panel discussion with three extraordinary women leaders in the community from local government, financial services, and higher education, we discussed the other F-word – failure. When asked about their biggest failure, I was pleasantly surprised at their responses. Each one, in their own way expressed a belief that they do not experience failure. In fact, they do not even use that F-word!One stated that she does not believe in failure, only opportunities for growth. Another stated that she too, does not look at “mistakes” as failure. Instead, she simply acknowledges a mistake. Wow, how empowering this way of thinking is for learning, humility, and perseverance – all of which are outstanding leadership qualities! When we fully embrace “failure” as a growth opportunity and a decision that did not work out, it immediately frees us to think of another decision that could give us a better result.This is not rocket science.This frame is actually quite simple, and simple is profound. I am so grateful to be introduced to this liberating way of thinking. Oh, how I love to learn! Thank you ladies, for sharing your insight.How much different would our lives be if we would not get stuck in failure and only empowered by making a better decision?With love,Maria

Light Of Leadership

I love this quote by Edith Wharton, “There are two ways of spreading light…To be a candle or the mirror that reflects it.”In this season of light, I ponder what light represents in our lives and how that relates to our leadership. I love Edith Wharton’s perspective of spreading light, but what exactly does that mean?Spreading light comes in the form of lighting up a room. As leaders, we can light up a room with our presence; you know, by being fully present to others. We do this by listening without distraction and giving our full attention to those around us.We can also spread light through our attitudes and behaviors. We spread light through love, care, and compassion. Light takes away the darkness. We know that smiles are contagious and can be a great conduit to spreading light and love.As leaders, we can also be the mirror that reflects light. Through encouragement and support of those we lead, we see the light in their eyes, their behaviors, and in their attitudes. Mentoring those we lead and reflecting back their greatness is one of the most profound activities we can do as leaders.We also reflect light by “lightening” the load of others. We can help lighten the heaviness of others by supporting our teams literally and figuratively. We can support others in a variety of ways that don’t cost any money. Sometimes small acts of just listening, giving an encouraging word, or acknowledging others can be extraordinary and have lasting profound effects. Serving those we lead is an example of love-based leadership.Light in the darkness and lightening the load are profound ways we demonstrate love-based leadership. In this season of light, I wish you a blessed holiday season and a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.As always, I love to hear from you. How can you be a light to others today?With love,Maria

2 Steps to Peace In The Workplace

So much of what we do as leaders is to create vision, motivate, and inspire others to reach that vision. We imagine what our organizations will be like when we are successful at meeting our goals, meeting the mission, and realizing the vision.I love John Lennon’s song, Imagine. When I look at lyrics from his famous song, Imagine, I am struck by the simplicity of his statements and the call to action.Living life in peace is possible in our world, our countries, our communities, our organizations, and our families. Peace begins with us, and feeling peaceful within ourselves. Of course, our internal peace is steeped in self-love.Feeling peaceful in our workplaces is sometimes challenging, but not impossible. To shift to peace, requires awareness and a commitment to live life in peace. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”Envision who you would be, living and leading your life in peace and hold that vision until it becomes reality.Yes, it is true…I am a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us.Now I would love to hear from you. What do you want to see in your organization, community, and world and what are you willing to commit to today to be the change you want to see?With love,Maria

Developing Extraordinary Leadership Through Simplicity

Taking a holistic approach to leadership, we want to develop our whole selves. As with our mind and body, it is important to take care of our soul.We need to nurture your soul with love, kindness, and depth. When we do not care for our souls, we end up with what Albert Schweitzer referred to as, “A sleeping sickness of the soul. Its symptoms are loss of seriousness, enthusiasm, and zest. When we live superficially, pursue no goals deeper than material success, and never stop to listen to our inner voices, we stunt our spiritual development.” How do you develop your spirit? Spiritual growth and development manifest through inspiration. Do what you love and you’ll find that you love what you do. Music, art, nature, and literature are a few of the paths for inspiration. What stirs your soul? For me, when I hear drumming—Native American drumming, Irish drumming, Kudo drumming, or nearly any type of drumming—my soul stirs. Looking at a beautiful sunset feeds my soul. When I listen to music that feeds the souls of musicians, it nourishes my soul. Watching cloud formations or the dance of a butterfly warms my soul.In their book, “The Spirituality of Imperfection”, Kurtz and Ketcham wrote, “Spirituality transcends the ordinary; and yet, paradoxically, it can be found only in the ordinary. Spirituality is beyond us and yet is in everything we do. It is extraordinary, and yet it is extraordinarily simple.”Listening to and honoring your heart’s call honors your soul, your core, and your very essence. When we are aligned with our soul, with our spirit, we are authentic, abundant, and at peace. Meaning is not a destination, but a way of life, like the air we breathe. There is no better way to achieve well-being and love for ourselves than aligning with our spirit.I would love to hear from you. What do you do to nurture your soul?With love,Maria

12 Transitions in Workplace Professionalism

Imagine for a moment, if we could harness the love we feel and translate that into our leadership. Now of course, I am not talking about romantic love. I am talking about universal love; the love we feel as one human to another. This love is honoring, valuing, and respecting each other. This is a love of Namaste, honoring the spirit of another.As leaders, we are taught to compartmentalize a love such as this. We are taught to remove ourselves from any emotion (including love) and be “professional” as if being professional makes us non-human or even worse, super-human. This practice, and many of us have gotten this concept down good, has propelled us in our careers, but also has left us empty.Emotional intelligence teaches us to recognize our emotions and manage them in healthy ways. Managing our emotions does not mean shoving them down and ignoring them. We know from experience this only gives our emotions time to grow and mutate into emotions that are exaggerated, misdirected, and sometimes manifest in disease and illness.Being professional does not mean being distant, aloof, uncaring, and impersonal. We are in a world of transition and change. We are in a world where many of us are creating new models for living. In this spirit and in the spirit of love, let’s create a new professionalism. Let's create a professionalism that stands for something powerful, serving, supportive, and love-filled.I am thinking a new professionalism includes these 12 areas:I would love to hear from you. How would you create a new professionalism?With love,Maria

5 Steps To Creating A Leadership Brand

I recently conducted some market research to learn from leaders how I can best support their leadership growth and development. I asked a series of questions and received great responses, food for thought, and feedback.When I spoke with a man in the military, he said one of the most important aspects that he looks for in leadership is “keepin it real”. OK, he is quite a bit younger than I am! However, this message is ageless and timeless.Most of us have a pretty good B.S. meter and can smell fake a mile away. This is especially important to us, as leaders, to tap into truth and stand in our authenticity. When we stand in authenticity, we stand in power. THAT is what makes us powerful leaders – authenticity.And let’s face it; there is nothing more authentic or real than love.When we lead with love and authenticity, we practice:

  • Truth
  • Mindfulness
  • Awareness
  • Non-judgment
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Compassion
  • Service
  • Presence
  • Humanitarianism

Branding and image consulting are terms that we’ve no doubt heard before, typically in the context of marketing. Have you thought about your brand? No, I am not talking about the company for which you work—I am talking about YOU!What is your brand, your leadership image? Are you keepin it real? Are you respected because you’ve earned it or are you feared because of your title? What is the first thing your team thinks about when your name comes up?Some of us may say that we don’t care about what others think about us.Really, is that really true?As leaders, our primary task is to motivate and influence others toward a vision and/or goal. If others are not buying our brand, then we don’t really have followers.How can we consciously create our leadership brand? Follow these 5 simple steps:

  1. Intentionally determine what you want your brand to represent.
  2. Reverse engineer the steps necessary to develop and create that brand image.
  3. Be accountable to doing the work – find an accountability partner or coach who will be honest about your progress and a resource when you are stuck.
  4. Be vulnerable and do spot checks with others to see if you are on the right track (in other words—ask!).
  5. Keep it real – Authenticity is a real attractor

I would love to hear from you. How would you describe an authentic leader, one who is keepin it real?With love,Maria

5 Strategies Every Leader Should Model

As leaders, we often buy into the perception (more likely than not, self-imposed perception) that we must know the answers, be strong, and just like the Energizer bunny, keep going, going, and going.Enough already!As leaders, the most important lesson we can model and teach others is that we are human.As humans and leaders, we don’t always have the answers. This requires us to fess up and be honest. Big deal, we don’t have the answer. The difference between leaders and non-leaders is that we will find the answer…whatever it takes, we will find out.This may require us to do some research or ask someone else, who may have the answer. We may also need to tap into our intuition for inner wisdom to solve the surface question. And, my favorite resource of all, ask Source, Spirit, or God, who is always available 24/7, always honest, and always right on target.The perception that leaders are always strong is like saying it is always sunny. Just as nature has beautifully shown us, there are seasons to life. As living, breathing human beings, we too, have seasons. Our strength does not come by us always standing, our strength is our ability to get up again after we fall.Sometimes, this requires us to ask for help.Even the Beatles asked for help! Here are 5 strategies to remember when asking for help:

Try out your ideas first, and then if you still cannot figure it out reach out and ask.– When you ask, present your thinking so far, including some possible solutions or outcomes.– Don’t be a martyr or bad mouth yourself when you do ask for help– it’s not very attractive.– Ask a clarifying question. If someone asks you something and you don’t know the answer right away, simply ask them, “Well what do you think?”– Remember that asking for help could be a great developmental opportunity for someone else to also grow.

The beautiful benefit of our asking is that the helper receives a gift too, by serving. This is a win-win exchange. It can’t get much better than that!We cannot keep going, going, going. This is unrealistic and quite frankly, dangerous to our physical body, emotional health, and spiritual growth. We are not super-human, so we must stop pretending to be…it is killing us! We need to learn to ask for re-charge time and then take it! Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you.I would love to hear from you. What is the most challenging thing for you to ask for help?With love,Maria

False Power In Leadership

“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” ~ Robert Muller

Forgiveness is a challenging concept for many leaders. While we understand the idea and we know forgiveness when it happens, the vagueness surrounding forgiveness is illusive. The ambiguity enfolding forgiveness stems from our questions of how to bring about forgiveness and understanding, and from where it actually originated. To begin, let’s take a dive into the word itself.For implies intention to someone, for the benefit of or on behalf of someone or something. Give is to pass on, to gift, or convey something to someone. Ness, is a suffix that implies a state of being. For-give-ness therefore, is a state of benefiting someone by giving something to him or her.How did we even get here—the need or desire to forgive?We look to practice forgiveness when we are angry, wronged, or hurt. Tormentors come in the form of resentment, guilt, or even shame. Oftentimes we hold on to anger as a form of power. We feel in control and ultimately powerful when we hold onto our anger, justified in our feelings and hoping that the person we believe hurt us may feel guilty or remorseful for what we perceive they have done to us. Avoiding forgiveness allows us to fuel our anger, feeling justified and entitled in our anger or pain as victims.This practice of avoidance may manifest through not communicating with the person who harmed us, furthering the growth of our anger. Avoiding forgiveness is avoiding responsibility. We are victims because we believe we have no power. Playing the victim role deepens the feelings of pain and anger justification. Each time we replay the event that caused us pain is another attempt to regain respect, acknowledgment, hope, and love.With a loving heart,MariaP.S. This is an excerpt from my book, “Love-Based Leadership: Transform Your Life With Meaning And Abundance” to purchase or read another excerpt, click HERE.

Combining Leadership Theory With Action

As a professor and teacher, I understand the importance of theory. Theory gives us the foundation on which to build. As a coach, I understand the importance of action. Just as wisdom is the combination of knowledge and experience, success is the combination of theory and action.I work with many clients on action plans, the roadmaps to our success. We can have all the best intentions and theoretical plans in the world, but without action, we really don’t have anything. My strategic planning workshops are very popular for this very reason. We do not create gorgeous plans, we actually map out our action steps.Here are the 7 actions steps that will help you turn your plan into action:

  1. Write down your goals and remember to make them SMART goals. (Specific, Measurable, Aligned with your values, Realistic, Time-bound) It is important that when you are goal setting, you create SMART goals.
  2. List steps necessary to achieve each of your identified goals. You will need to do this for each goal as these steps are goal-specific.
  3.  Identify past success or strengths you have. This is a good reminder that you can accomplish this goal. The successes do not need to be related to your goal – only a reminder that you can do anything you commit to.
  4. List the people and resources you have available to support you. These are primarily your professional resources.
  5. Name any hazards, weaknesses, or blocks that could cause you to stumble. While I don’t like to spend a lot of time in the “what if” zone, it is important that we consider possible hazards before they may actually happen so we are not caught off-guard and throw in the towel.
  6. Identify the strengths, support, and resources available to you if you were to stumble and identify why you would turn to them. These resources may very well be personal ones that we could have a good cry with.
  7. Record the reasons and benefits that cause you to want to achieve your goals. This step is extremely important because this is your “why”. This is the step that connects our head with our heart. And we know that combination is unstoppable.

Review your goals each day and spend time in the morning and the evening visualizing yourself already achieving that goal. Can you see it? How do you feel? What changed for you in your life? When you sit with this image, the realization of your goal becomes stronger and more powerful.I would love to hear from you. What is the goal you are most proud of achieving?I can’t wait to celebrate with you!With love,Maria