Many of us know what great leadership or innovation looks like and what we should be doing to deliver on our strategies. Most of us also agree that we get the best and most creative outcomes for ourselves and others when feeling energised and positive. It’s often common sense yet is not always common practice.
I was invited to keynote the annual Year of the X conference in Munich in April. This digital transformation and innovation conference is dedicated to the Chinese Year of the Rooster. The Rooster is full of energy, breaks rules and focusses on execution. An apt theme for an already dynamic and disruptive year! Last year was the Year of the Monkey. Following Chinese symbology the conference focussed on fast-changing innovation and smart ideas.
Yet no matter how smart your strategy or ideas, it’s how to execute and deliver on your strategy that makes the difference. “Execution eats strategy for breakfast,” is a popular adage in business. You need to be able to engage people with your message and enable them to execute it in the real world on a daily basis.
You also need to start with yourself. You know it – show that you do it!
Here are six leadership practices you can commit to this year to amplify your energy, dare to deliver and turn great ideas into positive actions and exceptional results.
Break the law of averages.
Do you strive to be exceptional, go against the grain, and look for solutions others can’t see because they are too busy doing business as usual or focusing on what’s wrong? Congratulations, you are a positive deviant! According to positive psychology, people who deviate from the norm in positive ways can create a powerful ripple effect. Make a commitment this year to turn your ideas into something extraordinary. Gather a groundswell of people prepared to dream big, challenge the status quo and turn the tide toward the positive.
Learn from what works.
As leaders or innovators, we are sometimes encouraged to fail fast and learn from these experiences. Yet that doesn’t always tell us about success. Learning from what we are already doing well and discovering how other people are implementing success can be a paradigm shift that opens us up to new possibilities we might never have imagined. It also gets us past the brain’s innate bias and endless ability to focus on the negative. Look for what you are already doing well or have done well in the past, apply these lessons to the year ahead and create regular touch points to celebrate and savour success. Ask for feedback about former successes and feedforward about what you and your team can do even better.
Step into your authentic authority.
If you want to be a powerful and inspiring leader and successfully communicate your ideas you need to walk the talk. Great leaders have a natural presence and energy that inspires people to deliver their best. So how do you develop and step into your authentic authority? It’s not as hard as you might think! Practice your ‘power pose’ to develop positive leadership presence and mindset and know what you stand for as a leader. Treat people with compassion, forgiveness and gratitude. You are all part of each others’ experience and success.
Put your best self forward.
Do you know your strengths, and are you playing to them? It’s a myth that we need to focus on improving our weaknesses to be the best we can. The reverse is true. Realising our unique strengths and the energy behind them is the secret to confidence, competitive advantage and effective execution. Find out what your strengths are, understand the risks posed by your weaknesses, and tap into what gives you energy. Develop a plan to realise the best of who you are and can deliver—for yourself, your business and the world! Help your team do the same.
Create positive habits.
Great ideas and great execution are made up of daily actions implemented with consistent effort. We all want to form lasting habits to get things done and make the change we envision happen. So why does it feel so hard to break unhelpful routines and establish new behaviours? The brain needs fuel to generate the energy and focus we need to change our habits. Set positive goals and optimise your brain by fuelling it with positive emotions to make habits more fun, more easy and more sticky. Keep a Ta Da! List of positive practices alongside your To Do List to motivate yourself and stay on track. Encourage your team to build their resilience and boost their mood on a daily basis.
Focus on culture.
Leaders can actively develop a positive leadership style that sets the tone for a positive culture and brings out the best in people. When you focus on creating a positive culture, outcomes are magnified. Individuals flourish in the presence of positive leadership, which enables organisations to deliver exceptional results. The Hay Group has shown that up to 70% of the climate in a team is determined by the leader, which in turn can increase bottom line performance by up to 30%. Display emotional intelligence and a positive rather than a negative mood to enhance cooperation and effort, and ensure great strategy and ideas are executed.