Ten Principles of Alignment – Number 1

Want to IMPROVE YOUR LEADERSHIP in 2023 starting in 2022?

Today we are jumping into Ten Principles of Alignment to improve your leadership– operationally, emotionally, as well as growing your leadership qualities. 

Principle #1 – Align Yourself with Reality.

In my work over the last 20 years, in the fields of counseling, coaching and business consulting, I have observed many common pitfalls that business leaders, and people in general, encounter.  We will talk about them in terms of principles of alignment that over time, will refine your leadership as well as close many gaps between you, your organization and those you lead. 

Thankfully, leading better is done in small incremental actions, not necessarily a swarm of new resolutions. 

As we approach 2023, if you want to improve your leadership, think about and practice these principles.  You will quickly begin to create a new trajectory for yourself, one action at a time.

Taking the Risk 

About a week ago, on my second loop around the junior high, I was like a fish swimming against the flow.  The girls and boys track teams were out for their 8th period run.  In a sea of 12-year-olds, I did a quick jaunt to get out of the way and let them run. 

When I rounded the corner to the backside of the school, there were two stragglers.  As I approached, one with no facial expression, stuck out his fist.  In my experience with a junior high boy I know, my first thoughts were “What’s he doing?  I think he’s trying to fist pump?!  I bet this is a trick.”  After I quelled my 7th grade girl insecurity by reminding myself that I was in fact 54 and he was likely 11 or 12, I stuck out my fist just in time to meet his.  

Controlling the Outcome

How often do you find yourself stopping to think through what the outcome will be before you are willing to act?  The fist pump is a small but everyday example. I would argue that the junior high boy took a risk to stick out his fist first, not knowing if I would fist pump him back.  And I, wondering if he was tricking me, stuck out mine.  We both took the risk without the certainty of how the other would respond.

In our everyday lives, the pre-dialogue in our heads can sound like this…

  • Should I reach out to him for input on looking for a new job if I’m not 100% sure I want a change?  
  • Should I figure out if the business idea is viable and know how it is going to work out before I take the next step?
  • Should I say that to my boss, I don’t know how he will react?
  • Should I try to help my Dad understand we aren’t aligned in our business anymore?
  • Should I tell her I feel I am doing too much of her work, it might create friction?
  • Should I say it to him if he’ll be angry, and we’ll have to spend time and energy working through it?

If I do this, “x” could happen, and I don’t want that, so I think I’ll do nothing. 

My actions may not have the outcome I want so I will just wait or hold back. 

I am defining “controlling the outcome” as….

Looking into the future, speculating on what may happen and determining not to act based on fear or uncertainty.  In doing this, you usurp the natural small steps that we all must take to get to an end goal.  We circumvent the reality of getting to see the doors that may open or close naturally. 

This way of operating can affect EVERY area of life and work and often keeps people and businesses stifled because we make decisions to play it safe versus trusting the process. 

It will hold you back from the next level in your leadership, your business, and your personal life. 

The problem is we want a certain outcome, and we want to manage the other side before we act; the other person’s response, the way the deal goes, the state of our relationships or job. 

The principal is this:  Align Yourself with Reality. 

You can’t control the outcome, how things go, or how people respond. 

You have to determine what the next right step is (using your wisdom and other people) and act on it

Taking risks and acting, regardless of how someone may respond, regardless of the possible consequences, regardless of the mess it may make—shows you trust yourself. 

Trust yourself to figure out what step is after that.  Trust yourself to be able to navigate life and what comes, believing maybe the outcome you got is best EVEN IF it makes you uncomfortable.  

This 12-minute Ted Talk by Bill Eckstrom solidified my thinking around this. 

Every decision to act takes a measure of faith.  Companies, ideas, and relationships never come into existence or maturity by waiting for certainty.  Your job is to figure out the smallest next right step (use all the help/people you need) and take it.  Let the chips fall. No, you will not have certainty and your life may be disrupted a little but it’s freeing. 

In the recovery world, it’s called living life on life’s terms. We are not the master controller of the grand drama, as AA says. We just get to choose what we do next or what we do with what we are presented with by life. That’s it. 

In Brene Brown’s vernacular, it takes stepping out with courage and vulnerability.  When you do something without knowing how it will be received or what the outcome will be, you are acting with courage and vulnerability, trusting you can navigate whatever happens. 

Oh, and by my 3rd loop, straggler #2 was in front.  I was determined to stick out my fist to my new friend even if he punked me, but before I could, #2 stuck out his for a fist pump followed by fist-pumper #1.  I started to tear up.  What 54-year-old lady gets greeted with two fist pumps from junior high boys? This time we hit fists with confidence, and he smiled.

See you back here in November with Principle #2! 

Cynthia 

Between now and then, if you want a free 30-minute consultation, take advantage of it by clicking the link below to set up a call.  I can help you identify where you want to grow in your leadership, or we can discuss another topic of your choice!

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