Some time ago, back in the days when I was an HR Business Partner, my boss asked me to (well,actually I think that was TOLD rather than asked!) me to run a quarterly Career Development Forum with the Board we were working with. I was new in to the job but I guess I should have realised it was not going to be easy when he told me he’d been trying to get this off the ground for months and now wanted to hand it over to me! To cut a long story short, it was a disaster. They had no idea what I was talking about and I had completely failed to get on their wave length. You can imagine how much I was looking forward to it when the next quarterly meeting approached! I started to think of all kinds of diseases I might go down with, reasons why there wouldn’t be time to do it with, disasters and emergencies that might intervene and then ….STOP!
I suddenly realised how I was sabotaging myself and setting myself up for failure by thinking of everything negative about the meeting and all that could go wrong. It dawned on me that to be successful what I needed to do was envision a successful meeting and me running it really well.
Visioning! such a powerful tool for all sorts of things – and especially to create exciting and motivating business and personal goals for yourself. Of course SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound) has been tried and tested and is popular in many organisations. But does it inspire you? does it make you want to get up in the morning, make you want to give your all?? exactly! Visioning what you want to achieve and yourself being successful certainly can though.
Your mind cannot tell the difference between a real event and something you have merely imagined, so by vividly imagining yourself as having already achieved what you want you are far more likely to succeed.
- Find yourself somewhere to be alone and to relax – this is definitely best done in private!
- Close your eyes and imagine with all your senses that you have achieved your goal, be it winning a new client, giving an amazing presentation, getting your dream job…. Imagine what you’re seeing around you, who is there, what are they doing, the expressions on their faces. What are you hearing? what are they saying? and what are you feeling – excited, exhilarated, proud, confident? think of other times you’ve felt that sensation and really remember what it’s like – where do you feel it in your body? how strong is that sensation?
- Whenever you need re-motivating or you lose touch with what your goal really means to you repeat the process so that you’ve recreated the reality of it again
- Your unconscious mind will help you find ways to achieve your goal when you really know what you want
- Write down your goal or find a picture or object that represents it so that you can carry that with you at all times to remind you what you’re working towards.
So what are your tips for creating exciting goals for yourself and those you lead? or how else have you used visioning? Please post your ideas below – what’s worked and what hasn’t worked for you?
Next time I’ll look at why you need to focus on what you do want, not what you don’t. Join me then and I look forward to hearing from you in the meantime.
Photo: Caroline Talbott. Antarctica 2006.
As I sat down to write this post about ‘what you need to do to be the best leader you can be’ the words of a fellow coach came to mind – that many leaders think it’s about what they do; they don’t realise that it’s about who they are. And I think that’s the key. When you’re in a management or leadership position you are expected to produce results but you do that through your team and it’s who and how you are (your behaviours) that will motivate them to produce their very best work. And why is it important to be able to engage your team and be a great leader? – well, the Macleod report Engaging for Success (2009) found that
How to be…..
So one brilliant place to start is to think about people you have worked for, or are working for, who have really brought out the best in you – or even to think about those who have demotivated and constricted you because if you turn that on its head it will tell you how you do want to be. My first simple lessons in management style were when I was a student doing temporary jobs in my holidays – I quickly saw how I did and didn’t want to be: the manager who asked rather than told and always said please and thank you motivated me far more than the one who would never even say good morning as he passed my desk on the way to his office. In fact I got quite obsessive about how rude he was and put a lot of my time and energy into that rather than the job! Another great manager for me was one who disagreed with a decision I had made and rather than just overturning it we sat down and talked about it, discussed other options and she left the final decision to me before helping me work through how I could change it while still maintaining face.
The best thing about finding role models in others is that you can ‘pick and mix’ – because no one is perfect! the manager I mention above also set very high standards and expectations which I know helped me to achieve things I never would have thought possible. However, she also didn’t know when to stop pushing and sometimes the stress would become too much for myself and other colleagues and we felt unable to say ‘enough!’
So think about those around you with the qualities and behaviours you admire – observe who and how they are and talk to them about their management philosophy – especially to find out the values and beliefs which drive them. And of course the beauty of this is that it’s something you can do all through your career as you face every new challenge – think about who would be a role model in how to handle it.
Another fantastic way I’ve found of being the most excellent leader you can be is to be your best self – so more on that next time….
In the meantime what has worked for you in becoming a great leader (or what hasn’t!)? post your comments below
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