I had a leader once who used to tell everyone about his 7 P’s – Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents P*ss Poor Performance! In the case of leadership work I’m talking about taking the time to plan for the sort of leader you want to be and the impact you would like your leadership to have. You could add Patience as the 8th P because achieving the sort of leadership impact that you can be proud of is something that doesn’t happen overnight.
Now we have shortened the process to a more realistic 3 P’s and we want you to develop habits within each of these: Planning for Impact, Practicing creating positive Impact and finally, measuring the Progress of your Impact. And we know, none of the stages are ever done, it’s not a tick and flick, all three, work in an interconnected loop.
Are you ready?
To start your planning, first think about the question: what kind of impact do I want to have? what kind of leader do I want to be? To have clarity on the impact you want to develop and nurture is key to creating a path to action and a structure to your behaviour, your thinking, your reflections.
Reflect on leaders that have had the greatest impact on you. Who are they? What was their impact and what was it about how they exercised leadership that made that impact possible? This sort of reflection might help you to think more deeply about what’s possible for your own leadership impact.
One way to start this work is to consider your own Intent, the first element of our IMPACT model, which is about your why, your purpose. It is about finding alignment and a deep understanding on how this drives your decisions and prioritisation for impact. For this, it is a priority to know how your values and your beliefs shape and drive the kind of world, culture, community you want to be part of and positively impact.
What happens next?
The second part of your planning is to think about how to reduce what James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, calls “friction”. This is about making the actions or behaviours that are going to optimise your leadership impact, obvious, accessible and attractive, on the one hand.
But it is also about knowing how your purpose, what drives your leadership, aligns with other people and your organisation, how it fits within the culture you’re in. Challenging the systems you want to change or improve is going to create instability within yourself and possibly in your environment. It may bring you to want to give up (or give it a break). Don’t.
We know change = friction, unease, for the simple fact that it affects the status quo, the thing humans are most attached to. So, it is important that you plan to make small changes at first and that you are prepared to stay adaptive.
Observe how the habits you are looking to develop will affect your energy and your emotions. Read your mood, reduce conflict or raise the heat always keeping in mind what kind of impact you want to have, staying true to your why.
When planning for impact, also think of the scope, lessen the load, make it bite size if possible but keep to the plan. “Show up for the bad days to maintain the habit” says Clear.
It is super important to establish the plan before attempting to practice your impact. It is also super important for this plan to work, that you have indeed got off the treadmill for a moment, to make room for how this plan is going to be executed, but more about this next week.
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