Business Strategy, Human Capital, Leadership Development
4 minute read
Jan 21, 2022
Written by: Shawn Sweeney
There are countless attributes that can be used to define effective leadership, but when businesses are working toward ambitious growth goals, focus is critical. Throughout 2021, and particularly as our leadership team left the EntreLeadership conference in Dallas, this group has been focused on wrapping our arms around our One Thing: the singular habit or activity with the potential to drive the greatest impact.
While the common thread in our One Thing exercise is driving organizational growth, we’re viewing this challenge on both a professional and personal level. Naturally, while this group works well together and is aligned to the same organizational goals, we’re all human, and so our One Thing isn’t the same. What’s interesting, however, is that, because we’re all working toward the same end goal, that individual focus translates well to organizational success.
For several years, I’ve invited Spinnaker Consulting Group’s senior leaders to join me for the annual EntreLeadership conference. As nationally recognized leadership expert and founder Dave Ramsey describes the conference, it’s where “the passion of an entrepreneur meets the character of a leader.”
Learning and growing at a personal and corporate level has been part of the Spinnaker way from our founding days. And it’s not just window dressing. As an organization, we set ambitious business goals, which means we need to continue developing our leaders so that they feel empowered to guide us to where we want to be. We’ve discovered that EntreLeadership offers the experiences and speakers to harness our entrepreneurial vision and provides perspective on how to be better leaders or rethink systems to remove process shackles – all hallmarks of effective leaders.
And while it’s important to take that information in, taking the time to digest and then operationalize those insights is how our organization capitalizes on that investment. As a follow-up to the conference, I typically ask the team to identify their key takeaways, and then we dedicate time to discuss those insights. Not only does this exercise build alignment, but it also re-energizes us in our shared vision for what our organization is today and further informs the necessary steps we’ll need to take to get where we want to be. They key is that we’re doing this in lockstep: We’re adapting and augmenting our personal leadership styles and tactics to better support our people in their contributions to our firm’s goals.
Within our team, getting a good night’s sleep, following a healthy diet and stepping away from the desk to get moving tend to be some of the most effective foundational leadership strategies, as those get us in the habit of self-discipline. Frankly, we can’t take care of our people if we don’t take care of ourselves and model smart self-care behaviors.
Our people follow our clues on what constitutes work-life balance, particularly when it comes to protecting what we deem most important and being present for the moments we refuse to sacrifice. This is all about establishing boundaries and planting our feet right where we want to be.
When we go through the process of establishing personal goals that further wholistic improvement, we set the stage for our teams to mirror that behavior. In taking a pause from the work to attend this conference as a team, we send a top-down message about our aim to leverage each person’s talents and put them to work toward our shared goals.
As we continue to pursue ambitious growth, these lessons can help us ensure we’re prepared to manage through this phase by asking ourselves the right questions: What’s no longer working? Is there a promise we need to unmake? Should we take that one risk we need – even if we’re afraid?
As I mentioned earlier, your One Thing will be different from my One Thing, so I wanted to share a few more takeaways and what they mean in our day-to-day work:
One other common thread through our learnings is that, as we look ahead five years, we each stand to be the same person we are today. But that comes with an important caveat: except for the books we read and people we meet, something renowned leadership author John C. Maxwell and Christy Wright, a personal growth expert at Ramsey Solutions, echoed across sessions. That’s why I wanted to close with some recommended reading and podcasts we discovered, including many titles written or suggested by conference leaders:
Want to change your thinking and take your career to the next level? Pick up a book! Reading for growth is essential to your personal and professional development, as well as your career advancement. In addition to taking a deep dive on a topic to help you enhance your knowledge and skills, reading serves up bonus benefits like better analytical skills, improved writing skills, and an expanded vocabulary.
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