The day has just begun and many messages compete for your time. Honestly, it’s so easy to get knocked off course. There are times that a subtle deviation turns into a U-turn. It’s a two-fold challenge. First, a clear sense of direction is more important than ever. Second, you have to refine your ability to respond to distractions and unexpected challenges. Navigation is a critical leadership skill. It is the ability to stay on course and find your way.
How do you find your way? Consider the wisdom of this old French Proverb:
If you are going out to sea, you better have a star. Whether your day has been calm or stormy, you need a consistent reference point. Your core values can function as that reference point. It’s your “go to” list of what matters most. Most companies have a published set of core values. What about you? What are your personal core values? Can you name five “non-negotiable” values? If you are struggling to name them, it’s almost a guarantee that you are veering off course more than you should.
The stars would have never served the mariners if they refused to look up. The first five letters of reference spell “refer”. When challenges and distractions needle their way into your plans for the day, you need to anchor your response in something that is more important than the emotional noise around you. You need to keep your values in the front of your mind. In the short term, it will keep you on course. In the long term, your integrity depends on it. When your values are operationalized through your attitude and actions each day, you build exemplary credibility among your team members.
Frequently, when working with clients, we draw attention to the need for a values check-up. A check-up can yield a diagnosis and a prescription for improvement. Start with your vital signs.
- Take the time to compile a list of your personal values and save the list on your phone.
- When you face a challenging decision this week, take out your phone and read through your list.
- Ask a trusted colleague to identify two or three values that your actions communicated this week.
- Compare your colleague’s response with your personal values list.
At InitiativeOne, we specialize in helping leaders align decision-making with what matters most in life. Visit us today at http://www.initiative-one.com/executive-coaching/