The Power of We in 2023
‘Tis the season for reflection – a time to learn, grow and appreciate all that’s good in this one precious life of ours. As I look back on the past year, it’s easy to point out where I could have done more, how I could have done better, or whether I served the people I care about personally and professionally to the best of my ability. I am constantly learning how to be a better husband, dad, and professional. I learn from my mistakes, celebrate my small wins, and strive to do better in every aspect of my life. But that doesn’t mean that after 63 years, I still don’t have a lot of work to do.
This year, I will take some of my own medicine by applying Peernovation’s Five Factors to my personal and professional life to guide me in 2023. The power of we begins with each of us. To that end, I invite you to try this simple, albeit not easy, exercise.
Personal and Professional Peernovation
If great teams follow the principles of what CEO Peer Advisory Groups and Forums do so brilliantly, then it stands to reason that the leaders and members of those teams should abide by the same tenets. The following exercise challenges us to apply Peernovation’s Five Factor Framework to our own lives. Complete one for your personal life and one that addresses your professional aspirations.
Ask yourself what values and behaviors you want to adopt next year. First, we must know what to expect of ourselves and be clear about what others can expect from us. Next, think about the people with whom you surround yourself. Who is in your circle? Do these people lift you up, hold you back, or drag you down? How are you contributing to their lives? Who is not in your circle or living at the outer reaches of your sphere that you would like to invite into your life or bring closer? The better we know ourselves, the more likely we will surround ourselves with the kinds of people who will create synergies for all involved.
How effective am I at creating a sense of belonging for the people in my life? It’s easy to overlook because we are not always 100% in touch with how others perceive us. How comfortable do we make it for people to admit mistakes, ask questions, contribute ideas, and challenge our thinking? It’s not about whether we believe people can be vulnerable with us. By definition, if we create actual psychological safety for others, then vulnerability is off the table. It’s just a conversation with people who trust us to their core. That’s the goal. If we can do that in 2023, the world will get the best of all of us.
In the professional world, we think of productivity as squeezing every ounce of value from the activities we pursue to achieve our goals. The more we fall in love with the process of what it takes to make great things possible, the more likely great things will happen. In our personal lives, productivity can mean many things, not the least of which is powerful human connection. It isn’t always about pursuing a goal so much as what can result when we tap into our shared humanity. In both cases, relationships matter. Never underestimate the value of casual conversation or just sitting with someone and doing nothing. It’s quite something.
To me, accountability is among the most misunderstood words in the English language and, as a result, is plagued with a connotation that makes most people bristle. But, to paraphrase Pasi Sahlberg, accountability is what you’re stuck with when one’s sense of personal responsibility fails them. It’s not about making people play defense; it’s about helping them set standards and goals for themselves and inspiring them to bring their very best to their lives (personally and professionally) every day – a tall order for sure but a worthy pursuit.
How do we lead ourselves and others when called upon to do so? How well do we serve the people around us? My favorite personification of a leader is the character Sam Arthur from the book The Offsite by Robert H. Thompson. Sam is not among the executives attending the offsite – although he should have been the keynote speaker. Sam is the groundskeeper who reminds us that you don’t scream at the plants to make them grow faster. That when a plant is not getting enough sunlight, it needs to be moved to an area where it can flourish. We should all look at leadership in every aspect of our lives in the same way Sam tends to the grounds at the Mariposa Resort. Let’s do the best we can to create the conditions in the world that help those closest to us realize whatever they have expressed they want for themselves and their loved ones.
Now that you have a sense of each of the five factors, I invite you to create a set of personal and professional questions to guide you. I am inspired to complete this exercise because of the amazing people I am fortunate to have around me in every facet of my life. Their ages span from 92 (my wife’s incredible parents) to age 3 (our wonderful grandson) and everyone in between. They inspire me to be better and do more. As my friend Sekou Andrews reminds us, “There is an incredible power that comes from surrounding yourself with communities in which you feel small among them, and they look at you like a giant.” Hence the power of we in 2023!
Written by Leo Bottary.
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