It’s a new year, which always means a fresh start, new opportunities, and, hopefully for you, a new role. And while most of you aren’t formally taking on new leadership roles, I would like to suggest that you increase the scope and impact of whatever role you currently fill in your organization to the point of it effectively being a “new role” for you.
Over the next several weeks, I will touch on 10 challenges you should consider as you embrace a 2012 that will allow you to have a greater impact on your own responsibilities and results, as well as for those around you. As I do so, I will borrow from a book I read last year, The First 90 Days: Critical Success Stories for New Leaders by Michael Watkins.
First Challenge – Promote yourself.
This doesn’t mean to go on a campaign of self-promotion, rather it means that you need to mentally elevate yourself to the role to which you have actually been promoted or to which you aspire to create as your “new role”.
Define the role - Start by defining your new role in a way that will allow you to contribute to the organization the greatest value of which you are capable. Be careful to not fall into a trap of thinking that just doing more of what has made you successful to this point will drive success in your new role. Any new/elevated role will require new behaviors and skills. Honestly assess where you have a gap and identify how you will fill it in.
Stop and then start - As you identify and commit to doing the new tasks that will make you successful, be realistic of the additional time they will require. Since there is no way to create additional time, you are going to have to make time on your calendar. Before you can decide what you will start doing, you have to decide what you will stop doing. Look for those activities that could be done just as well, or maybe even better, by someone else. Also, be honest and let go of activities that only keep you busy but aren’t producing results.
Be specific with milestones- Be very clear, painfully honest, and specific about the new skills and behaviors your “new role” will require. You may find it necessary to start setting even more specific milestones than you’ve previously set. Describe in detail what will you accomplish this week, month, quarter.
Finding success means preparing yourself to fail – I don’t mean big picture failure. What I mean is that you need to prepare yourself in advance for the inevitable setbacks that will occur. Know that they will happen and don’t panic when they do. By anticipating setbacks, you will put yourself in a much better position of looking at them as a time to recommit and re-evaluate rather than a time to abandon your plan.
It takes a tribe - Establish as many accountability advisors as possible. Find the individuals with whom you are going to share your vision of your new role, and ask them to hold you accountable for your progress. Be sure this group includes people who can and will mentor you into your new role.
The key to all of this is to identify what success looks like and then create a disciplined plan of improvement to make that your reality.
Acceleration Checklist as suggested in The First 90 Days:
1. What has made you successful so far in your career?
Can you succeed in your new role by relying solely on those strengths? If not, what are the critical skills you need to develop?
2. Are there aspects of your new role that are critical to your success but that you prefer not to focus on?
Why is that the case?
How will you compensate for your potential blind spots?
3. What do you need to do to ensure that you make the mental leap into the new position?
From whom might you seek advice and counsel on this?
What other activities might help you do this?
Photo by iwona_kellie.