Fusion Leadership: Are You A Stick?

December Thought Leadership.

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else. ” Lewis Carroll

And the corollary: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Image yourself a stick thrown into a river or stream. Once there, you are subject to the current and the laws of gravity. You have no control over where you are going or your final destination. Maybe you’ll make it to the ocean, but you may end up in a log jam and go nowhere very fast.

You don’t have to be a stick. Please don’t be a stick.

You have the power and the ability to control your destiny.

What is your purpose in life? What do you do best? What is your superpower? What are your values, beliefs, principles, and references?

And most importantly, where do you want to be a year from now?

My purpose is selfless service. My passion is leadership. I want to help you be a better you. I want to make your team a better team. But I can’t do it without you.

Only you can envision and create your future. But you need to get out of your comfort zone and get out of your own way. And you need a plan to get from where you are to where you want to be. You need to take the initiative.

So, let’s say you want a deck on your house overlooking your awesome backyard. You have a vision and a dream. But you need a plan to bring the dream to fruition and take action to build the deck!

I was here once upon a time. I have an engineering degree, but I have never built a deck. So, I sought a few subject matter experts (SMEs) and some mentors and coaches to assist me. Both Home Depot and Lowes conduct free training sessions on deck building. I love both of these entities because both provide a 10% discount for service members and veterans. I chose Home Depot for my deck building clinic because it was closer to my house than Lowes. I attended two clinics, one to help me design my deck and the second to identify the materials and tools required to build the deck. All it cost me up front was the commitment of my time.

Following these two clinics, I had a plan and timeline for constructing a bill of materials and the tools needed to complete the deck according to local regulations and codes. I purchased the lumber, the brackets, and the needed tools to get started, but I also had a number of relationships with professionals at the Home Depot who could and did provide additional advice and expertise as the project continued. In short, this was an exercise in project management, which helped me achieve the desired end state: a solid and well-built deck that met all codes and passed final inspection by the local government authorities.

I have been using the Franklin Planner for over three decades, and it has served me well in determining values, creating mission statements, setting goals and timelines, and achieving success in many areas. The Army taught me planning methodologies, budgets, metrics, and timelines. But all that education and expertise is worthless without self-initiative, tenacity, resilience, and focus.

December is a great month for strategic, operational, and tactical planning. Every December, I spend some time alone to reflect on where I have been and where I want to be a year hence. I determined my primary goals: a new and better job, additional education, career development requirements, and timelines for execution. I then draft an annual plan for the next calendar year, and I break that down into three-month quarters to eat the elephant in smaller bites.

Dwight Eisenhower famously stated that plans are worthless, but planning is everything. One of my Ranger School instructions, SFC Swankhammer (a real guy and a Ranger School legend), told my Ranger School class, “Rangers, in the absent of a plan, everything turns to crap.”

Murphy’s law states that if anything can go wrong, it will, and usually at the worst possible. Murphy is still out there, but a plan can mitigate circumstances and keep you on track toward your stated and written goals and objectives. Remember, if it is not written down, it doesn’t exist, like my appointment calendar. If you are not on my calendar, your appointment does not exist.

Without a personal plan for the next year, you will be nothing more than a stick in a river, flowing with the current, with no control over your destiny. Your chances of any personal success will most likely end up with you being in a log jam with no way out. You will be stuck, or lost, or even worse. Everything might turn to crap.

With a purpose, a vision, and a mission, you are in control. In the words of William Ernest Henley in his poem “Invictus,” remember that “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”

Have a plan, execute the plan, and adjust the plan accordingly. Simple, right? But write it down and execute it. Have a happy December and happy planning for the next year.

#leadership #leadershipcoaching #plan #planning #pricinciples #goals #leadershipmatters #references #vaues #thoughtleadership #leadingwithhope

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