Trust is an earned thing rather than a given thing. Like a child’s hug, it has to be deserved rather than demanded. Trust is built over time, not overnight. Once built, however, you can tear it down with a simple lie or a single, well-placed act of selfishness.
The next dimension of the Leadership model is Vision. Leaders at any level need to have and be able to articulate a vision to their organization. This provides a sense of purpose and direction for all within the organization. The Vision should define where the organization is trying to get to or what it is trying to achieve.
An effective vision should have the following aspects:
- Be inspirational
- Articulate an end state
- Provide a sense of purpose & direction
- Be time bound
- Be difficult but achievable, even if you currently don’t know how to get there
- Provide a role for all involved
A very famous vision that I think is a great example that includes all of the key aspects is as follows:
First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so
difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations-explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon-if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.
After the vision is created, I think it is also important to create mission statements. Mission statements are more the values in which the individuals within the organization are expected to behave or demonstrate as they work together towards the common and shared vision of the organization. Although it is important to achieve the vision, you also want to do so in a certain manner based on specific principles and values.
It doesn’t matter how big of an organiztion you lead, nor if there already is an existing company vision, I believe that it is still important for any leader to create a vision and mission within their team. It is obviously important that the team vision/mission aligns with the overall company vision but it should articulate how or what the team will do or what role they will play in supporting the larger vision.
Together with my teams, we’ve created a Vision and Mission statements in the last several roles and companies I’ve been a part of. Below is an example of one of our Visions/Missions from a few years ago.
We used the above Vision and Mission statements to align mutliple different functions and departments of a fairly large organization. It not only brought the teams together, but was also used to explain to other stakeholders and customers where we were trying to go and how were going about getting there. We also used this as a roadmap to measure our progress and identify our gaps.
Creating a Vision and Mission statements can be a great team building exercise and can be a lot of fun. It provides common and aligned direction for the organization over a long period of time. It acts as an organizational compass and can define how individuals and teams work together.
The reality is that most people want to be led, but following a clear direction. Your job as the leader is to lead them, but they aren’t mind readers. Clear and articulate vision and mission statements will guide them towards the vision you have created.
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Oneness… Whether it’s your family, your company or your nation, “that which is to be most valued in America is oneness and not sameness. Sameness is the worst thing that could happen to the people of this country. To make all people the same would lower their quality, but oneness would raise it.”
Stephen S. Wise
Regardless of what country, the spirit of this quote can apply to everyone throughout the world.
In the last post we discussed whether work-life balance is a myth and explained it is more like a teeter-totter. In this post we’ll review 10 steps you can take to help yourself achieve a better work-life balance.
1. Look after you first – Sleep, exercise, diet, relaxation
The absolute most important thing you have to do is look after yourself first. If you are not healthy, fit, or well-rested, there is no way you will be effective at work or in life. It’s not dissimilar to the emergency message on a plane advising to put your air mask on first. This is to keep you safe but also so you can help others that may not be able to help themselves. It’s the same in work-life. If you are not at your best, you will not be most effective to support your family, friends, or team at work. This really should go without saying, but look around. Many people do not treat this as the #1 work-life priority at all!
2. Clearly define your life’s passions
We’ve all heard the saying that when lying on your death bed, no one says “I wish I worked more”. No matter who you are, you will retire some day, then what? You no longer have that big title or position. So, figure out what your passions are both within your work and your personal life. Define them clearly as to what they are and who you are relative to them. Then set goals and objectives to pursue those passions and go get them. When done right, these are what define you, what motivates you, satisfies you, and lasts your lifetime far beyond your career. They will become who you are.
3. Set long term personal goals and the aligning annual objectives
This is such a powerful tool but it surprises me how few people actually do it. Life just happens and steals our time if we don’t deliberately spend some of our time on the things most important to us. My family and I have set long term family and personal goals for years. It’s amazing how many of our goals we have achieved either as a family or individuals. We have a well defined process of setting our long term goals, then each year develop specific actions or objectives for that year that move towards the accomplishment of the longer term goal. Many people have goals and ideas, but they stop there. They don’t figure out how to actually achieve them. I’m not sure if they think they will just happen? In setting these goals, you are more likely to do and achieve the things that are most important to you rather than let life take you where-ever it takes you!
4.Start your day early (~1 hour before you have to get up)
This can be tough, particularly if you treat Step 1 as the top priority, but I swear by this one! Many people start their day stressed right out as they have hit snooze three times, figured out every minute they can cut from their morning routine to save time, skip a proper breakfast in favour of a coffee and donut at the drive through, and perform a trial lap worthy of the Indy 500 as they race to work in fear of being late. Day after day, after day. Getting up one hour before you have to get up can be so invigorating and stress reducing. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in this time. To get up without having to rush, exercising, getting your personal and work life organized, listening to the news or weather, checking your social media, or simply enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee, is wonderful… try it!
5. Have a plan, adjust the plan
Have a plan for both your personal life and work. This is different than Step 3 goals and objectives and is more about a plan of how you will go about doing things. Be deliberate and don’t leave things to chance. Plan ahead by scheduling events and blocking the time in your calendar for professional and personal priorities. Be prepared to adjust your plan as things will change. The point here is to adjust, not cancel or abandon.
6. Get the top priorities (Big rocks) done first
Another common sense practice that isn’t so common; get your top priorities done first. This applies to work and personal life. The rest will get done. They won’t happen by accident, you have to make time for them and put the effort in to get them done. Determine what your top priorities are and re-evaluate them at least weekly. The priorities won’t necessarily change, however, your focus on them may need to change and adjust over time. For more on this check the post Effective Leadership Skills – Personal Planning.
7. Don’t let other people’s procrastination become your priority
From early in my career I remember a sign in one of the buyers cubicles that said “Procrastination on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency purchase order on my part!” I’ve never forgotten this and now have a much better appreciation of it. Don’t let yourself be distracted or have your time taken away by others that are not organized or procrastinate until the last minute. That is their problem. Stay focused on your top priorities. Now this not to say you abandon and ignore your team, but it also doesn’t mean you have to drop what you are doing or be interrupted on a whim. Establish “office hours” and rules of engagement that satisfy your priorities while being there to help/support others and your team, but on your terms.
8. Watch out for avoidance activities or excessive relaxation
Work hard, play hard is a great saying that I do believe in. In addition to this, we all need to relax and do other things now and again. What we have to be aware of though and watch out for is avoidance activities that we convince ourselves are important and necessary but in reality are just a distraction and deterrent from the really important activities we need and want to get done. They may serve a purpose and need to get done, but we have to watch that we don’t overdo it to avoid or procrastinate from getting to the more important. Similarly, we all need to relax, rest, and rejuvenate, but there is excessive relaxation that can steal hours away well beyond the good they initially provided.
9. Minimize the line between work and the rest of your life
This is somewhat dependent upon the amount of autonomy you have in your job, but the idea is we are all one individual so why is there sometimes such a definitive line between work and life? This includes being of the same character at work as you are at home, allowing personal things to sometimes overflow into your work space, and vice versa. Too much segregation between the two just creates stress. It’s not different than a relationship with your partner; it’s all about compromise and give and take.
10. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Easier said than done I realize but just think for a minute of all the things you have worried about over the years. Now think of how many times what you worried about actually happened. Not very many! I’m not suggesting you become carefree and not give a @$!& about anything, but rather seriously consider, what is the worst that can happen? What is the likelihood of this happening? Can I control it? If your answer to any of these questions in inconsequential, then stop worrying about it and don’t sweat it. Generally your imagination is far worse than the reality, so don’t waste your time worrying about it. Most “small” things can be undone, repaired, or don’t really matter in the long run.
What steps do you take to help with a better work-life balance? Please share your suggestions by leaving a comment.
If you are enjoying my posts and find them useful, please join the email “Follow” list on the right-hand margin to receive 1 post notification link per week to avoid the various social media filters that determine who receives which posts in their feeds, as well as a little encouragement for me to continue! You will also receive a mid-week motivational quote.
Aspirations… Close your eyes and imagine that you are being interviewed on your 100th birthday. What are the five things you would like to be able to tell the reporters that you have accomplished? Now open your eyes and begin. You have a fresh start on life.