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December 2008
Published by Geoff Kelly, Kelly Strategic Influence

Wisdom to lead minds:

" If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.
With confidence, you have won even before you have started"

Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman Philosopher

How to prepare your leadership platform for 2009.

Crises create leaders like no other phenomenon. This is the lesson of history. Crises create ambiguity and knock people out of their comfort zones. Followers are ready for leaders to step up. And leaders who can demonstrate faith and relevance do just that.

So as 2009 gets going, are you ready to lead? How will you step up with the ideas and leadership that will help people meet the challenges of a difficult financial and business operating environment? An environment vastly different to that which they have been used to.

This is the test of leaders – to lead when your world comes tumbling down, and to show a way forward so that others follow.

Arenas of influence differ according to who you are and where you operate. However, President-elect Obama, the CEO of IBM, the Secretary or a division head in a Government department and the director of a firm of architects all share a similar challenge. They have to answer such questions as: “How do I diagnose and articulate the essence of our challenges? Where do I find the ideas to address them? What do I do to shape and refine them? How do I take action and engage others to do likewise?”

Leading with purpose takes account of our environment, and then sets out to change it in some way. Sometimes we adapt our response, but more often we find and initiate a new path better suited to the challenge.

For all of us, now is the time to decide what difference we will make in our arenas in 2009. In this sense the current financial contagion is our friend as it has levelled the field by knocking down so many fair-weather sailors, smug opinion leaders, and crazy assumptions.

Here are four steps to help you frame your ideas:

  • Look around you: Build your sense of the big picture and its implications in your arena. Explore the edges and regions of the challenges, where your boundaries should be, what more you need to consider.
  • See the patterns: Decide what is important to consider, filter the irrelevant, bring focus to the crucial, and discern how the dots connect.
  • Imagine a better future: What is missing that could improve the future? What different arrangement of things would make them work better? What works elsewhere that might also work here?
  • Act and influence: What few actions will have most positive impact? How can I start some of these today, with what I have? What would make my desired path self-evident to those whose support I most need?

As you go through these and questions like them, do so in the conviction that you have a special and important role to play on behalf of those you serve. And also with the conviction that you have all the resources you need to find and initiate powerful, relevant and actionable ideas. Build this faith as you go because it is the one distinguishing characteristic of all leaders of significant accomplishment.

2009 is popping the question. Do we languish on the sidelines like so many others hoping “they” will do something? Or do we step up to leadership by answering the central questions that will define our contribution?

Good luck.

More next month...

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Geoff Kelly works with leaders who are frustrated that others don't fully support their ideas and strategies. He mainly works with corporate leaders around the world, but also leaders in Government and Not for Profit. He is also a popular speaker on this and related subjects. See www.kellystrategicinfluence.com.au, email gkelly@kellystrategicinfluence.com.au or call +613 9678 9218 for more information

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© 2006-2008 Geoff Kelly All rights reserved.
You are free to use material from the Leading Minds eZine in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear. The attribution should read: "By Geoff Kelly of Kelly Strategic Influence. Please visit Geoff's web site at www.kellystrategicinfluence.com.au for additional articles and resources on earning support for your ideas and strategies." (Make sure the link is live if placed in an eZine or in a web site.)

 


 

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