The competitive business landscape places significant demands on CEOs and senior executives across every industry. When you’re steering a complex enterprise, personal growth isn’t just an ‘nice to have’; it’s a firm requirement. The cornerstone of truly transformative leadership lies not just in understanding one’s personal growth areas but in the disciplined application of that knowledge. Let’s embark on a 5-step journey that bridges the gap between conceptual learning and concrete decisive action and application.
Step 1: Learning Plan
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin
Every journey begins with an understanding of the current terrain. For leaders, this means acknowledging gaps in their personal skillsets and competencies: not an easy ask, unfortunately. A leadership assessment/benchmark, especially one that highlights blind spots, mindset and EQ, serves as the North Star, illuminating areas that require most focus and fortification.
Step 2: Reflect and Evaluate
“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” – John Dewey
Reflection isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessary strategic exercise. By juxtaposing one’s performance against newly recognized competencies and behaviors, leaders can identify disconnects. Ask: Where have I excelled today? Where have I faltered recently? Where and how could I do better? Where am I not serving my people, my customers, my business? This reflective and reflexive process is integral in recognizing the distance between current practices, beliefs, attitudes, competencies and desired growth.
Step 3: Action Plan
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Having understood, reflected upon, and prioritized the gaps, the next step is to craft a rigorous, daily action plan designed to reduce these critical weaknesses. This plan serves as the daily roadmap, detailing the journey from current proficiency levels to required future mastery. Remember, to paraphrase Marshall Goldsmith, what got you here will almost certainly not get you there.
Step 4: Adapt and Adopt
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” – Charles Darwin
Every leader is unique, with individual strengths, learning styles, and motivations. Hence, while an action plan provides structure, adaptation ensures its relevance and likelihood of adoption. This stage reminds leaders to mold the training and development inputs to their specific needs, ensuring the desired behaviors and beliefs integrate seamlessly into their daily M.O.
Step 5: Apply
“Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.” – Plato
The culmination of this journey rests on a principle as old as leadership itself: application. Knowing is only half the battle. The true mettle of a leader is tested when they apply their newfound knowledge, actualizing its potential. To learn a new skill and to let it languish is to forsake an arsenal in a world demanding constant innovation and adaptation.
In order to better serve themselves, their people, and their business, leaders have an obligation to take massive and consistent action in the development of their own skills. The distinction between good and great rests upon the acquiring and application of knowledge. The 5-step model shown here serves not merely as a guide but as an urgent clarion call. CEOs and senior executives, it’s time to not only understand but apply, setting benchmarks for not just your teams but industries at large.
For a starting point, consider embarking on an objective Leadership Blind Spot assessment here. The first step towards monumental growth is, after all, self-awareness.
Are you brave enough to show a little vulnerability by taking the benchmark/assessment?
Written by Antonio Garrido.
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