When asked what I would recommend leaders stop doing in 2012, my response was to stop being efficient. The larger the organization, the more tempting it becomes to focus on process rather than outcomes. Leadership has very little to do with efficiency, yet that’s how we try to operate the organizations we lead and accomplish the work that we do. Here are some suggested next steps:
- Reacquaint yourself with the phone. Email is great, but it isn’t real time. It doesn’t always make sense to make a phone call, but when it does there is no substitute.
- Focus on excellence. The pursuit of excellence is an inefficient one. It means you’ll have to say no to more things and become even more vigilant about how you use your time. People won’t remember how much you did, they will remember your style and impact.
- Learn something new at least once a month. Learning is a great way to stay connected to the awkwardness of life. Learning puts us in a position to ask a lot of questions, find new voices to pay attention to, and expand our perspective or point of view.
When asked what I would recommend leaders start doing in 2012, my response was to get comfortable with chaos. Technology is accelerating the rate of cultural change. Sometimes–even for those of us immersed in the middle of it–it can be overwhelming. Remember these things as you navigate your own chaos:
- You won’t be doing what you’re doing today in five years. You may transfer your skills, but your role and function will be different.
- Your next opportunity probably hasn’t been invented yet. Much of what I do–and use to accomplish my work–didn’t exist ten years ago. Why do we think the pace of invention will slow down?
- What doesn’t change will become even more important. When so many things are changing, we begin to gravitate toward things that don’t change. Relationships will continue to be the primary means by which we accomplish our work, build our business, and make a difference in the world. Invest in people, and you will survive the chaos.
If someone asked you what leaders should start and stop in 2012, what would you say?
Ben Stroup is a content activist in a post-paragraph world. He is chief broker of opportunity at Ben Stroup Enterprises. Connect with Ben via email, Twitter, and Google+. Subscribe via email to learn how to use content to move people to action.