From accusations of political corruption in South Korea; to turmoil in the Middle East due to sectarian violence, terrorism, and unstable oil prices; to the impact of Brexit on the Euro Zone and to Trumpism in the United States; 2016 has certainly been an interesting and challenging year for businesses around the world.
The services of Nostradamus are probably not required to predict that 2017 has the potential to be even more challenging, especially from a business leadership perspective. To address these potential challenges, leaders will need to be adaptable and draw upon their inner resources to provide a form of authentic leadership that inspires people toward the creation of a better 2017. To help create that better future, we offer the following, non-traditional, New Year resolutions for leaders to consider:
Resolution #1: Live a Life True to Yourself, Not the Life Others Expect of You
Australian palliative care nurse, spent several years supporting patients in the last three to 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded her observations in a book called, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Living a life others expect was the most common regret of all. When people realized that their life was almost over and looked back on it clearly, they could see how many of their dreams went unfulfilled. Most of Ware’s patients had not honoured even half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. To be true to yourself means to set aside all the “shoulds” we carry around in our heads … the ones recorded in our parent’s, teacher’s, and other’s voices … that tell us what to be and do. But setting aside these “shoulds” requires effort and a commitment to exercise a high degree of emotional integrity by being totally honest with ourselves about what we really want. The fact is, we are the happiest when we are being true to ourselves. As the late Steve Jobs once said, “You’ve got to love what you’re doing otherwise you’re going to give up” when things get difficult. Interesting enough, the Number 5 regret of the dying was, “I wish that I had let myself be happier”.
Resolution #2: Lead with Purpose:
Victor Frankl referred to as “man’s quest for meaning.” To lead with purpose means to be very clear about the type of life you want and then to pursue it fearlessly, regardless of what others may think, say, or do. Jennifer Bricker was born without legs and abandoned by her natural parents. Doctors told her adoptive parents she would never be able to sit up and would probably have to live her life in a wheelchair. Jennifer and her parents were undeterred. Today, Jennifer is a professional acrobat and aerialist. From a leadership perspective, leading with purpose means having a clear sense of why you want to be a leader. Authentic leadership is not about a position or title. It is about creating a better future for your organization, the people that populate it, and the customers you serve.
Resolution #3: Act Your Values:
Values, especially our core values, define who we are as individuals and guide us on how we act. Core values are non-negotiable, meaning we would not act in a manner inconsistent with our values, regardless of the situation in which we may find ourselves. Most importantly, our core values should be visible to those around us. For example, Steve (whose name has been changed to protect the guilty) was a hard charging Division President of a large, multinational corporation. His stated, number one value was “family” yet in the same breath he would proclaim his pride in “turning on the office lights in the morning and turning them off at the end of the day.” Steve regularly put in 14 hour days, including working on weekends. He frequently missed school events that his young children were involved in as well as special family gatherings such as anniversaries and birthdays. Steve’s behavior set the tone for the entire office … people thought they were expected to work long hours and miss family events. Steve was not acting his stated values. Upon reflection, Steve realized that his core values were achievement and competition. But his competitive nature was also leading his employees to compete with each other in ways that undermined his organization’s overall performance. Once he realized the impact he was having on his organization he developed different channels for acting out his values in more effective ways.
Resolution #4: “Uber Yourself Before You Get Kodak’d”.
Dr. Daniel Kraft, the founder and chair of the Exponential Medicine (xMed) Conference, recently coined this phrase as a way of warning the healthcare and medical industries to leverage technology in order not to suffer the fate of the iconic Eastman Kodak company. Uber is not just revolutionizing the concept of taxi service. It has the potential to disrupt all industries and most aspects of organizational performance.
Resolve to Uber yourself in 2017, ask yourself how your customers and employees would rate you based on Uber’s three core strategies:
- Real-time Booking with Full Visibility of ETA and Location
- Seamless Experience
- Rating System
Final thought, most researchers agree that the probability of achieving your New Year’s resolutions increases dramatically when you tell someone about them. So, who are you going to tell about your resolutions?