**This article is inspired by chapter 1 of “Leadershift” by John C. Maxwell – “Why Every Leader Needs to Leadershift” ***
Thomas Edgely once stated, “Change or die.” This statement seems extremely appropriate in the rapidly changing world that we live in today. Look around and see all the things that exist today that didn’t just 1-5 years ago. We live in an amazing time in history where advancements are happening and information is multiplying at unprecedented rates. We have so many opportunities available to us thanks to technology, but we also have many challenges as leaders.
Leaders simply can’t keep up with the world around them if they don’t become adaptable. What worked even just five years ago most likely won’t work today. There are a few key behaviors and characteristics that stand the test of time, but navigating real-time challenges can become exhausting. In fact, I believe many leaders are experiencing “decision fatigue.” This is the state that when your brain becomes tired from the multitude of decisions you must make each day. In times of challenge or crisis, this condition is magnified and multiplied.
So, if this is the reality of the world we live in, how can you become the adaptable leader that is required to not only survive but thrive?
Consider the following 7 steps that John C. Maxwell teaches in his eye-opening book LEADERSHIFT:
1 – Continually learn, unlearn, and relearn
Mark Niemann-Ross states that “In four years, you’ll have to relearn 30% of your job.” Think about that for a moment. Much of what you’re doing today will have to be relearned in the next four years. As business and technological advancements increase, your education rate will have to increase to keep up. As the old saying goes, “What got you here, won’t get you there.” Tomorrow’s success requires you to continually learn and grow.
2 – Value yesterday, but live in today.
My grandfather used to say, “The good ol’ days weren’t so good.” However, many people often glamorize the past the farther removed they are from it. The challenges we faced are diminished and the successes we accomplished are blown up to be greater than they truly were. Be grateful for your past and the lessons you learned, but focus on what you can do today in order to advance your life and business. Yesterday is gone. Make the most of today.
3 – Rely on speed, but thrive on timing.
One of the challenges of modern technology is that we often try to do too much too fast. It’s like taking a sharp turn on a dangerous road at a high speed. It’s not going to end well! Yes, we have the capabilities to get farther and faster than ever before, but WHEN to do something is often as important as WHAT to do. Rushing the process can be detrimental. Trying to manufacture results too soon can end up disastrous. Be diligent to keep a good pace, but be wise enough to know when the timing is right to launch whatever you’re working on.
4 – See the big picture as the picture keeps getting bigger.
Vision is a critical component of leadership. If the leader doesn’t know where to go, he or she can’t lead their followers effectively. However, we must realize that as you advance toward the vision, the vision will expand. Former John Maxwell Team vice president and successful business owner Scott Faye teaches that once you climb to the top of one mountain you will see new mountains to climb. Today’s vision will someday be achieved if you keep moving forward. Then, you’ll see new ways to expand this vision or receive a new vision to go after. Keep this in mind as you lead your team forward.
5 – Live in today, but think about tomorrow.
As stated in #2 above, today matters. However, you must keep your eyes up to see what’s coming as if you’re driving down the road. Today is like the hood of the car. You can’t stare at it too long or else you could crash into oncoming obstacles. Keep your eyes on the horizon as you navigate today. Make the most of today, but be mindful of tomorrow so you’re not caught off-guard with surprises. Your followers need you to be a few steps ahead of them at all times.
6 – Move forward today in the midst of uncertainty.
While we live in an amazing era, we also live in a time of incredible uncertainty. In fact, all generations have navigated this reality at some level. The reason is that we can’t predict the future. Did many leaders foresee the Coronavirus pandemic that would shut down much of the economy throughout the world? Have community leaders been able to predict natural disasters that affect their regions for months (even years)? The reality is that life is uncertain. As soon as we navigate through the challenges of one surprise, more seem to come our way. This is why the world needs strong leaders. Followers are looking for leaders to guide them through uncertainty. It’s like driving through fog. You may have to slow down a bit to be cautious, but you must keep moving forward in order to get past it.
7 – Realize today’s best will not meet tomorrow’s challenges.
As I stated before, what got you “here” won’t get you “there”. This is why daily personal growth is critical. If you don’t have an intentional growth plan, you will eventually be left behind. Read, listen to podcasts, go to conferences, hire a coach, find a mentor, attend workshops, etc. Whatever you need to do to multiply your knowledge so you can be a relevant leader, do it! Think of your personal growth like going to the gym to work out. The weight you can lift today is today’s best, but if you have goals to lift 50 pounds more, you must push yourself tomorrow toward that goal. Keep challenging yourself to grow and mature as a leader. Your followers need you to keep getting better so you can help them grow and be more successful.
Leadership in our generation is not an easy task, but you can be successful if you commit to growing and advancing. You don’t have to be 100 steps ahead of your followers. Sometimes one step ahead is enough. Keep taking the next best step that you see and invite others to follow you on the journey. By taking one step after another you can achieve GREAT things!
Until next time…make today GREAT!