I have a good friend who just signed on to be a communications strategist for a nearly 70-year-old company. He was hired to use “change management” techniques to communicate to employees nationwide that a business operations system—one they had been heavily dependent on for the past 40 years—was going to be replaced.
The operating system had been a technology dinosaur for the majority of those years; everyone knew it, but it took the company that long to make a change. Why? Because change isn’t easy, even when it makes sense.
“Ninety to 95 percent of people will withdraw to the comfort zone when what they try doesn’t initially work,” author Brian Tracy once said. “Only that small remaining percentage, five or 10 percent, will continually push themselves out into the zone of discomfort, and these are always the highest performers in every field.”
These high performers possess what I call the “LeaderShift” mindset. Simply put, making a daily habit out of letting go of what is comfortable and convenient in order to create what is progressive and desirable.
Whether you have a leadership title or not, you have the potential to either lead your organization beyond all expectations or inhibit its growth through entropy. Everything that you think, say and act upon meets you and your team in the future and says, “Welcome, we’ve been waiting for you!”
So the question is how will you, as a growing leader, prepare for the future?
Here are four ways to start owning your LeaderShift brilliance, to showcase your new mindset:
1. Reposition and Revitalize:
Reinvent your professional brand, and infuse new energy in your role within the company and on your team.
Envision the leader you’re planning to be in five years, and invest now. Do something today as a nod to the leader you’re becoming, like wear a sports coat in your business casual environment, take that leadership seminar, or volunteer to lead a project that seems challenging.
2. Master LeaderShift Skills:
Become a thought leader in your area of expertise.
Commit to shaking things up. Instead of dragging in that Monday morning meeting and conjuring up ideas when put on the spot, spend the weekend thinking ahead, bring coffee and pastries, and whip out an unexpected visual to sell your innovative idea.
3. Connect, Connect, Connect:
Instead of just communicating, get better at connecting with your colleagues, business partners and executive colleagues.
Really listen as a way of connecting. Although you caught every detail related to selling more products, don’t miss it when Sally mentions her husband is undergoing chemotherapy. A well-timed card or note of encouragement goes a long way in making connections and creating a real team.
4. Be a High Performer:
Produce high-performance work, and create a high-performing team that exceeds expectations every time.
Make high performance a part of your personal brand. Hone in on areas in which you are weak. It’s human nature to play up our strengths and ignore our shortcomings, but pick one weakness—time management, administrative tasks, budgets or expense reports, relationship building—and commit to be a high performer even in this area.