3 Actions Legendary Leaders Take to Get Ahead
The writing is on the wall: “Adapt, evolve, thrive… or get out of the way.”
For many of us, the greatest barrier we face is internal. Our habits – our way of thinking, communicating and doing, for example – keep us stuck where we are now. We become frustrated. We spend too much time on unfruitful efforts. We do not evolve.
And yet we resist change.
It isn’t until something dramatic happens – the departure of a valued colleague, the loss of a long-time client, a severe decrease in market share or share value, or perhaps even health issues – that with new eyes we see change for what it is: the solution, not the problem.
Here are a few powerful, practical ways to adapt, evolve, and thrive; proven ways to use the changes, challenges and opportunities before us as a catalyst that reveal your greatest potential as a leader.
Don’t Be a Manager: Be a Communicator and Collaborator
In the Social Age, leaders must learn to communicate and collaborate across the functional, generational, and cultural divides that surround them. Hone your ability to communicate vertically, horizontally, internally and externally because today, your audience is more educated, diverse and outspoken than ever. Your ability to build communication and collaboration bridges – instead of just “manage” – is a critical leadership skill… and one that only comes through self-discipline and with practice.
Engineer Change: Break Down the Silos
Part of your job as a leader in today’s economy is to engineer change; to be the catalyst for a radical re-do; a reinvention of the workplace as we know it.
Your ability to build communication and collaboration bridges – instead of just “manage” – is a critical leadership skill… and one that only comes through self-discipline and with practice.
A system of silos and bureaucracy worked well in the industrial era, but is castrating human purpose and potential as we enter the Age of Innovation. In this era, human purpose, potential and the ability to collaborate across social, cultural and functional divides is the litmus test of success.
Can we, overnight, build a flat leadership system that is the opposite of the autocratic, need-to-know, compartmentalized work environment many of us have accepted as normal? Perhaps not. But we can engineer change, and allow that change enough time to take root – and make a real difference.
A New Foundation: Build Your 3Q Edge™
For decades, leaders have been taught to play to strengths; to emphasize and leverage what we do well while sweeping our faults under the rug. The result: managers who play a role, like an actor on a stage. No vulnerability. No empathy. No chinks in the armor. A collection of automatons just following orders.
Silos and bureaucracy worked well in the industrial era, but is castrating human purpose and potential as we enter the Age of Innovation.
Of course, playing to strengths – and playing a role – can feel good, and it certainly made us better managers and assembly lines more productive. But it is no longer enough. We must now attack our weaknesses. We must be real. We must optimize our ability to use changes and challenges to build emotional and cognitive dexterity, resilience and leadership grit.
And to make this transition, we must have the right tools. We must develop a new process for how we take in data, look at problems, communicate solutions and reinforce values and purpose. We must build what I call a “3Q Edge”.
What is 3Q Edge™?
3Q Edge is how we align IQ (Intelligence Quotient), EQ (Emotional Intelligence) and SQ (Spiritual Intelligence) to form our leadership model.
Let’s take a closer look:
- Q1 : IQ | Our cognitive dexterity; our ability to think strategically; to apply knowledge to the task at hand; and to prioritize, or focus on what counts
- Q2: EQ | Our ability to communicate, collaborate and empathize; to become self-aware and self-disciplined; our emotional resiliency
- Q3: SQ | Our values, purpose and integrity; our anchor for sustainability and growth; our intrinsic motivators that keep us moving forward when times are tough
In the Industrial Age, we counted mostly on IQ to generate strategic thought and drive execution – and to lead. Today, though, leadership means more; it means honing one’s ability to empower others. And to do that well, we must integrate IQ, EQ and SQ.
The 3Q equation, then, states that great leadership is the 3Qs supported and inspired by courage:
And courage grows each time we align intelligence (IQ), humanity (EQ) and purpose (SQ).
Build a Resilient, Thriving 3Q Culture
Look at your organization or business with new eyes. Focus on actions (tactics) and attributes (insight and values) that will help drive a purpose-driven, high-performance culture. Start by transforming changes, challenges, and failures into opportunities to collaborate better, think smarter and communicate thoroughly. And along the way, entrench the purpose, vision and values that will take you forward into the Social Age.
Human purpose, potential and the ability to collaborate across social, cultural and functional divides is the litmus test of success.
We may not need a revolution, but we need an evolution of thought. We need to obtain new knowledge and share our wisdom. We need communication and action that takes us forward in new, faster ways. We need to work with purpose and focus on what really matters. As leaders, we need to inspire our people to evolve, adapt and thrive.
And to do that, we must realize: Change is not the problem… change is the solution.
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