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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Leadership and Being Open to Change

One of the qualities that I believe has come to define me - for myself and in the eyes of others - is the ability to persevere in pursuit of desired goals.  This has been true both personally and organizationally in my varied roles as a leader.  As I transitioned from my last senior leadership role I believe it safe to say that new goals and objectives took a little while to solidify as I worked through what it was to be an independent business-person for the first time in my life.  As a newly minted management consultant and executive coach it was clearly a case of "I didn't know what I didn't know."  Much like my first year or two as an executive in healthcare, the start in my new career was characterized by what I now identify as missteps, lost time and misguided pursuits.  Am I still learning?  Absolutely.  I expect to continue down that learning path for a long time to come.

One tool that I believe has been instrumental in my development over the past 3-4 years is my own personal business plan.  It's a tool that many of my clients would recognize along with students in my leadership course at Concordia University of Edmonton.  Now I've had various versions of my personal mission, vision and values since my mid-twenties.  At that time the prime catalyst for my leadership framework was Stephen Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People".  Since then my thoughts have been further shaped by work and life experiences and the writings of other authors such as Kouzes & Posner and Jim Collins.  The frameworks that I have worked with have certainly evolved over time as have some of the key content of each plan.  This evolution owes much to experience, maturity and more fully developed sense of self.

If one were to lay all of these frameworks and their contents side-by-side, as I have done from time to time, common elements would certainly stand out - mission, vision, values, objectives and even metrics.  Over time I would say that my personal mission has certainly evolved (or become better understood by myself) while my vision of future success has significantly changed along with the strategies and metrics used to ascertain progress.  The only thing that I can say with relative confidence - and satisfaction - is that my values have remained solid, anchored on such things as integrity, commitment, compassion and humility.

A key difference for me in the past several years is how effectively and consistently I have paid attention to my plan.  I can literally say there is not a month - or sometimes even a week - when I am not coming back to my plan, evaluating progress towards objectives, re-evaluating strategies, all within the context of long-term goals.  The results of the increasing specificity of my plan and the attention paid to its execution have been clear and evident - moving from half my previous annual salary in year one of my practice to nearly double that in the 5th full year of my practice.  The focus afforded to me by working to my plan consistently has also meant the scope of my vision has consistently shifted year over year.  The definition of impossible is getting challenged all the time.

But for all the success enjoyed while executing on my plan I recently came to recognize a potentially fatal flaw in my structured process.  The relative success that I have enjoyed by focusing on the "details" of my plan nearly made me blind to other lurking challenges and available opportunities.  In many ways I had become comfortable and complacent in my path.  It wasn't until a colleague of mine started to express some reservations and frustrations with their state of affairs - which mirrored my own reality - that I started to seriously question my plan.

The result of getting hit by this "bucket of cold water" - and having the humility to accept its lessons - is that I'm taking the next big step in my career.  I'm embracing another order of change and being open to a new round of "impossible".  I'm furthering my reinvention as a leadership development resource for established and aspiring leaders.  As with all change like this I'm positive that it will be both exciting and nauseating!

While I can say that my mission, vision and values have been solidified and reinforced through this recent evaluative process, my strategies, objectives and even long-term goals have gone through sizable change.  It is at this point that I believe it necessary to identify that, despite the relatively short gestation period for delivering this change, it has not been undertaken without extensive evaluation and self-talk.  On the outside some might consider this another decisive initiative on my part yet the result masks a period of intense consideration of risks and benefits.  

This process of rediscovery has again taught me about the value of being mindful, intentional and provocative with oneself.  As leaders we have to continuously look to ways to challenge ourselves and our mindset or find others that will do it for us.  It may sound cliche, but for leaders it may just be that "If it ain't broke, break it."  Only by being open to change can we reach new levels of impossible for ourselves and those we serve.
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Greg Hadubiak, MHSA, FACHE, CEC, PCC
Executive Coach/Senior Consultant
hadubiak@wmc.ca
780-401-2812

Helping leaders realize their strengths and enabling organizations to achieve their potential through the application of my leadership experience and coaching skills. I act as a point of leverage for my clients. I AM their Force Multiplier.


1 comment:

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