Today is a perfect day to put together your leadership development plan. Here’s how:
Define your values. Type “values clarification” into any search engine and you’ll find plenty of options. Once you’ve selected your top five, or even top three, take some time to define them in language that is meaningful to you and then come up with concrete examples of how you live them out.
Describe your strengths. Many people think highly of the StrengthsFinder tool but my preference is to reflect on moments in life when you were at your best and then consider what you were doing, how you felt, and the impact that you had. Those stories will be rich with evidence of your very best abilities.
Assess your weaknesses. Those strengths stories may also carry seeds of information about your weak spots, or the ways you regularly get yourself into trouble. If you’re energetic and full of ideas, chances are you do a lot of talking and perhaps not as much listening. If you’re a catalyst for change, chances are you leave people behind once in a while. If you’re a detailed planner, you might be prone to forget the big picture.
Clarify your aspirations. This is tough but essential. What do you really want? How clearly can you illustrate that in words and on paper? It can be hard to own our highest possible vision – because, of course, what if we don’t make it? Own it anyway, because no one else can or will do it or you.
Get feedback about the gap between where you are and what you want. Honest conversations about all of the above with people whom you respect are worth their weight in gold.
Decide on a first step. Not the whole thing, just the next thing.
Solicit support from your manager, a coach, a peer or a great friend. Gain the commitment of some great people to stay in the conversation with you and then get busy.
This sounds like a lot because it is a lot. It’s also an awesome way to take responsibility for where you are and where you’re going. And today, like every day, is a great day to get started.
DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.