Welcome to 2017.
Here are a few thoughts that I wish to share with you at the beginning of this prosperous New Year.
The New Year question seeking an answer …
Assuming good luck arises at the point where “preparation intersects with opportunity”, then just how should we prepare ourselves to leverage the multiple opportunities that are bound to come our way?
Where to go to get the answers …
Over the first few days of 2017, I’ve enjoyed meandering along the Arrow River and hiking up the hills surrounding Arrowtown. These adventures have given me the chance to ponder on two knotty questions that I am often asked.
The first is “what is so special about those leaders who step up to the peak? Are they r e a l l y significantly better than the many other highly experienced and capable leaders who are doing well but despite best efforts and brilliance, just aren’t able to knock the bastard off ?”(using the vernacular that Edmond Hillary used after reaching the summit of Mt Everest).
And the second is “why is it that only a handful of strategic leaders are able to effortlessly make Quantum Leaps, not only in their career trajectory, but also in the transformational growth and success of their organisations?”
The answers can be downloaded from the ether when we are relaxed, focused, and in-the-flow …
These two questions are particularly pertinent at this time of year when most of us take time to plan for the year ahead. Although there is “no one-right-answer”, I do know that Quantum Leaps are a function of intuitive and innovative right brain thinking rather than from a rational left brain management science process.
Over the last 16 years in my role as ISL Director, I have noticed that Quantum Leaps have been made by a handful of strategic leaders who have no more skill, knowledge, expertise, or opportunities than those whom only achieved modest levels of success. Similarly, the organisations that were transformed by Quantum Leap leaders were no more blessed with resources or favourable industry dynamics than peer companies.
The two noticeable differentiators that I observed were: Quantum Leap leaders had a much higher single point of focus on Purpose & Vision, and a much lower level of risk aversion. Simply put, if they are passionate about taking a leap, they boldly give it a go.
Quantum Leap leaders are clear about what they were designed to achieve and apply their innate Gifts in a very focused way to reach the summit they are heading for (aka Vision). They also put greater weight on opportunity than on loss.
It’s more about next practice rather than best practice …
The outlier Quantum Leap leaders who gain extraordinary success, adopt a next practice philosophy, rather than focusing on best practice. “When you are on top of your game, change your game.” And as a smart cookie once quipped: “the light bulb wasn’t invented by multiple improvements on the candle”.
A phenomenon that I observed over the holidays, is that regardless of how hard a distraught fly tries to get out through a closed window, ultimately it wears itself out in it’s relentless pursuit by sticking to the same approach time-and-time again.
Unlike distraught flies, Quantum Leap leaders are cool headed and find solutions by doing things very differently, rather than trying harder.
Quantum Leaps require a focusing of effort …
Quantum Leaps that create a massive step up require a focused mind and an intuitive approach. It’s about being in-the-flow and being totally focused on one thing or one person only at a time and being completely in the here-and-now. It’s about taking control of the mind so as to eliminate scattered thoughts. Not reflecting back on how it went in the past or over braining how you should do it now. Simply visualising what “knocking the bugger off” will look like, feel like, and be like.
Charles Dickens, a prolific and extraordinary writer, spent each afternoon walking on the beach, horse riding and playing games with friends. This enabled him to clear his mind so that he could ignite his imagination and focus his thoughts every morning. Perhaps Dickens can give us some clues about taking Quantum Leaps.
A rational approach to checking you are equipped to undertake the activity or journey …
Notwithstanding the comments above, it’s best to check that everything is in order before embarking on a Quantum Leap.
Click here to access the Annual WOF (Warrant of Fitness) check list. After all, it’s always best to do a pre-flight check before taking a Quantum Leap.
All the best for 2017 …
In closing, I quote from the inscription on the bronze plaque on the lookout bench up on the summit looking over the majestic Arrowtown basin:
“He aha te mea nui o te ao
….he tangata, he tangata, he tangata …”
“What is the most important thing in the world?
….the people, the people, the people.”
This is a timely reminder that strategic leadership, unlike a bungy jump or a sky dive is not a solitary endeavour and involves other people (their hearts, minds, skills, ambitions, hopes, careers, health, happiness, and those that matter to them).
Without a fully engaged crew and totally engaged customers, a Quantum Leap may land you on the shadow side of the mountain … a destination where it’s not fun to be, especially on your own.
Here’s to wishing you an asymmetric Quantum Leap in 2017 … uplifted by great health, happiness and being in-the-flow.
Take the leap,
All the best,
Quantum Leap Key Points:
1. Manage your MOJO (lifestyle balance) so as to stay calm in order that your intuition and right brain thinking is at it’s peak performance.
2. Play to your strengths – and stay on-Purpose.
3. Clarify where you are going – and keep focused on your Vision.
4. Surround yourself with a diverse team – and create a Master Mind network (akin to a powerful network of human computers) who can help you and your organisation make a Quantum Leap.
5. Invest time and money to prepare to be at your Peak – providing the strategic leadership and strategic thinking skills that show up as needing attention in your WOF.
6. Find a reflective space and quiet time periodically to still your mind – so that your creative / intuitive processes can be ignited.
7. Seek opportunities – take calculated risks and have a Plan B.
8. If you are just going to work each day rather than working on igniting your passions each day – stop wasting your time and embark on a new career.
9. Do things differently – remembering Next Practice rather than Best Proactive is the only way to ensure you and your company don’t get past the Best-By date.
10. F o c u s on one thing or person at a time – give them the attention they deserve.
11. Inspire your people – and be a great role model.
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
P.S. Nobel Prize Winner, Daniel Kaneman posits: “Most people will experience more pain by losing a $10 note, than gain pleasure by finding a $20 note.” It follows that Quantum Leap leaders are opportunity seekers, whereas the majority of their more moderately successful peers are risk avoiders.