What’s success? The concept of success has been a struggle for me from an early age. It annoys me when people attach success to winning. Whether, the ’72 Canada v. Soviet Union Summit Series (a hockey tournament, in case you wondered) – my first real memory of participating in a collective yearning for success defined by winning, my own struggle to win 1st place in an essay contest, music festival or oratory competition – I just realized I was a nerd of sorts, OR listening to a beloved professor share his agonizing reflections on a life he deemed a failure, my annoyance or struggle with these confusing experiences, shuffled and jumbled my definition.
In part, as a result of these early experiences, I have felt compelled to observe and consider the connection between winning & success for most of my life. I desperately wanted to reject winning as a defining aspect BECAUSE that meant there were always losers and even at a young age that didn’t work for me. Why can’t my success contribute to yours and yours to others and so on…?
The pursuit of excellence became the first re-brand for what success meant. When aiming for excellence, which I learned was relative, I struggled with an ever changing finish line. Although I consoled myself; it was a worthy pursuit. It continues to influence my thinking. What does excellence mean to you? Worth some reflection?
Then my focus turned to continuous improvement. This was less daunting maybe, while still a worthy pursuit, a bit more self-compassionate perhaps. What do I mean by this? Well, in my head anyway, excellence, like winning, was a blunt instrument leaving less room to grow or make mistakes. Continuous improvement meant no turning back or slowing down but it did suggest forward movement.
Somewhere between my focus on continuous improvement and my more recent focus on progress, I stumbled onto what have become the three legs of my goal setting stool which I realize incorporates a bit of both.
- Learning Goals – What learning or additional perspectives will feed my natural curiosity while serving my clients and prospective clients this year?
- Performance Goals – On what do I need to focus in the coming year so I can make more of an impact on those I serve in my work? OR how can I generate more excellence in what I am currently doing?
- Fulfillment Goals – What can I add or where do I need to focus this year that will inspire me and move me closer to living my mission and fulfilling my purpose?
Instead of setting goals solely in the traditional or even SMART sense, I found it helpful to think about my values. I realized my curiosity and desire to learn was a key value and even one of my strengths.
Mastering areas of interest helped me see that performance was a key value that increased my impact, credibility and confidence. In short by improving my performance, I could make a bigger difference.
This thinking easily brought me to the idea of meaning. Initially I called the third section “Finding Meaning” and it eventually, with influence from kindred thinkers, became a focus on fulfillment.
While I review my goals regularly ( and I do apply the principles of SMART to measure and evaluate the application ), the list below offers a taste of what I’ve set for both ImpactBank and ImpactBank’s the Kickass Koach podcast.
- Learning Goals – Develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for both: servant-minded & strength-based leadership – including the impact of the brain & balance in character strengths; and, the practice of appreciative inquiry. On a more tangible, even practical side: I also want to learn more about the technical delivery of experiences for my executive clients around the world so I can bring more of them together as I add a social learning component to my various “systems”.
- Performance Goals – Reach more people, agencies and organizations with my work and expand the delivery methods (i.e. add social learning components, use technology, write a companion playbook) to maximize the impact it has on the performance of every leader or organization I serve. To this end I will seek to form partnerships with 2 or 3 unique executive search agencies to help them with on-boarding those senior leaders who stick and succeed in their new endeavour.
- Fulfillment Goals – Build in more balance in the practice of my mission. Along with my direct client work and podcast/blog-post activities, increase my public speaking opportunities to both increase my reach AND enjoy the breath-taking experience of engaging with a large group of people in a meaningful way.
Look over your goals and see what fits into these three categories and try this approach on for size!
The second year of ImpactBank’s the Kickass Koach podcast launched Friday July 1st – Episode 053 – and while I share a few stories about the first year, the emphasis is on marking milestones and knowing how and when to pivot and set forward-thinking goals that inspire excellence, continuous improvement and/or progress (whichever you use to define your success).
As a senior leader, you will do well to learn to celebrate AND develop your timing to know when and how to pivot out of celebration into forward looking action. Looking backward to celebrate should motivate and inspire AND when it does, you will want to quickly steer the pivot to the next challenge or goal. When you learn to do this well you will find many opportunities to put it to good use throughout the year. This concept of the pivot will be a thread you see throughout the coming year of posts and podcast episodes.
In the meantime, I challenge you to look for opportunities to celebrate or acknowledge the milestones achieved by members of your team or the team as a whole. Keep a log of these for future reference.
NEVER FORGET, your currency as a leader is presence, purpose and passion so make a deposit every single day.
NEXT EPISODE: the story behind the naming of ImpactBank and how I came to discover my mission to serve senior leaders who accept new challenges.
Check out my podcast on iTunes or Google Play and book mark it so you don’t miss an episode. Click HERE to go to the podcast homepage.
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How can I help? If you are a senior leaders and have recently transitioned into a new role – OR – if you are about to on-board a senior leader and want to support their success, contact me for a no-obligation conversation about what you need from your senior leaders.
Click HERE for more information about ON YOUR MARK…™.