Let's LEAD - October 2021
As quickly as I want summer to get here...I want it to end.
Fall is my favorite season...the leaves changing color (yes...this DOES happen in Southern California!), my favorite sweaters moving to the front of the closet, and pumpkin spice lattes are on the menu.
It's all good!
As I'm sure some of you know, the first full moon of Fall is call the Harvest Moon; a time to start gathering what was planted in Spring and cultivated in Summer.
Harvest (verb): to gather or collect for use.
I was recently tasked with writing the 'perfectly written novel' of my life, broken out into five phases. Initially it sounded like a daunting task, but surprisingly, it wasn't.
It was an opportunity to document the highlights of my life, including lessons learned, opportunities gained and lost. And the stories I told myself about all of them.
At the risk of sounding really cliché, I feel like I'm in the 'autumn' of my life...so the idea of harvesting is very relatable to me. As I contemplate the past and my many life experiences, am I willing to gather what I've learned...to take what I like and leave the rest?
Then I started to think...what would this NEXT phase look like? What COULD it look like?
I get to decide.
How can I leverage those lessons and opportunities to design the next phase of my life?
As leaders, when it's time to 'reap the harvest,' you're the boss on that job. It's about helping your team reflect on the first nine months of the year...how can those experiences inform and inspire the future?
Every experience has value, even the ones that we'd rather not repeat.
Are you ready to reap this year's harvest?
3 Tips - Harvesting as a planning tool
When I worked in corporate, this time of year was all about budgeting and planning for the upcoming year. Our team would clear our calendars and spend a day mapping out the upcoming year.
Admittedly, these planning days tended to be pretty tactical, with a focus on the work, particularly the projects we knew were on the horizon. If I had a do-over, I'd do it all over...with more focus on strategy. For example:
- How does our work support ever-changing business and customer priorities?
- What do we need to know and do to stay on top of those changes?
- How can we leverage our collective strengths to contribute to the goals of the organization?
Consider these tips as you harvest this year's yield and plant next year's seeds:
Write your novel. Like the 'perfectly written novel' exercise I described above, ponder the idea of taking your team through a similar exercise to gather your team's input about the year so far. Here are some questions to get you started:
- What were the highlights (both positive and negative) of each quarter?
- What strengths and challenges were revealed as the team navigated each quarter?
What 'title' would you give each chapter (er...quarter)?
Harvest the learnings. Of course we want to celebrate the wins and to call out how we can leverage our strengths as we plan for the new year, AND...stick with me here...we want to celebrate the challenges we experienced as well. They happened for a reason.
What opportunities were revealed when that project turned upside down? In hindsight, can we now see any gifts from that experience?
We learn more through the slip-ups and missteps than when things go perfectly. Sub-tip: You start. Modeling vulnerability creates safety for others to do the same.
Create the next chapter. Leveraging the wisdom of your team, what's next? What's possible? Consider the 'strategy' questions above as part of this collaborative process.
Some additional questions:
- who do we need to be to meet the anticipated challenges we face as a team?
- how can we stretch and grow beyond our current capabilities to achieve and even surpass our goals?
Finally, find ways to keep the learnings alive as your team executes on the plan. We don't have to wait until it's 'planning time' to reflect on what we've learned through each experience.
It's time to start digging...
What I'm reading (articles, books*):
I'm re-reading Mastering Your Inner Critic by Susan McKenty Brady, which describes the seven 'hurdles' women must scale to advance as strong leaders.
See 'something more' below for the 'why'...
*I use Amazon links (no affiliate relationship); please check with your book retailer of choice
"One new feature or fresh take can change everything." -- Neil Young
...and something more:
I've been asked to be a Learning Team Leader at this year's Women in Leadership Institute, hosted by Linkage, Inc. and based on Susan Brady's book Mastering Your Inner Critic, scheduled for November 2-5.
This is my 3rd year as a Learning Team Leader, and I would recommend this experience to any woman leader looking to advance in her career and connect with other women with the same goal.
So please consider joining us! It's a 'hybrid' event; you can attend in-person in Orlando, FL or virtually.
I look forward to 'seeing' you there!
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