It doesn't matter if you are the Chief Executive of a Fortune 100 company or simply Chief Executive of You, there are four things each of us can do to enhance our image, our brand, our effectiveness as an executive. According to John Maxwell, the first phase of leadership is leading you. If we are not incorporating these four attributes into our daily lives, then we are not as effective as we could be.
Where do you start? You start at the beginning... and for each of us the beginning has to be VISION. Vision means knowing precisely what you want to achieve. Plenty of information (books, seminars, YouTube videos) on this topic from people that are more expert on the topic than myself so I won't go in depth on how to create your own vision, simply to say you must have one - a high purpose from which you derive energy, derive impetus, create momentum. It encompasses the concepts of mission, goal setting, and objectives. And, you need to keep it in front of you daily - a dream board, the background on your smart phone, a picture attached to your refrigerator - wherever it is that will provide you a regular physical reminder of your vision.
Another key that follows VISION is developing the ability to FOCUS. Focus causes one to be able to follow the Vision. It is what is required so that plans and programs necessary to realize the vision can be created. Focus encompasses the concepts of research, strategy, and communication. Its the process of gathering information, coalescing it into a coherent plan, and through a process of commitment and delegation provide the wherewithal to see the vision realized. Focus empowers us to be able to recognize and avoid distractions, to separate real opportunities from those which aren't supportive of our vision.
DISCIPLINE isn’t one of those popular concepts we talk about. Think about the bombardment of messages we get from advertisers today. None of them incorporate the idea that you have to “work really hard and sustain that for an extended period of time in order for this product to work for you.” Not everything is easy. Lose 5 pounds the first week or your money back. No achievement of any consequence comes without a press. A maximum sustained effort. It might not be exciting (until you start seeing the results!), but if you will develop a rhythm that keeps you on task, stay organized, pay attention to details, and devote yourself to execution, you will see success. Someone I know likes to say, “You have to go through it to get to it.” Self-discipline gets you through it.
If you are great at this one final aspect, you will be a top 1% performer in everything you do: FOLLOW THROUGH. It requires you to hold yourself accountable. Wherever you are in an organization, identify the key stakeholders and make sure that you are keeping your word and commitments to them as a starter. Everyone gets that. Keep them informed even when they’re not asking you for a status. But it doesn’t stop there. Your peers and subordinates deserve the same sort of follow through as though higher-ups in your organization. Want to become indispensable? Major on FOLLOW THROUGH.
If you want to be a better leader, a better co-worker, a better colleague and are looking for a place to start, start with these: Craft a vision, focus on your vision, be disciplined in your execution, and major on follow through. Those goals you set for yourself will soon receive an upgrade if you do. But I warn you, do those things and you're going to become the go-to person in your organization; so be ready for it.