“The flow of Leadership: Absorb – Plan – Lead – Support”

We take on new roles/responsibilities at times, and typically with little guidance.    Maybe this is because we are supposed to be the Guide, right?  Right.  This is easy to forget, which can make new challenges more frustrating than necessary.  Most of the frustration comes from forgetting the basic flow of Leadership.   Remember that whoever put you in charge, anticipates an initial learning curve.

We are expected to “figure it out” (Absorb).   This takes time and a well thought out strategy.   Due to the time requirement and our unfamiliarity with the challenge, it is easy to push a new challenge off and revert back to what we already know.  However, if we have the right mindset, the absorption phase is one of the most exciting.  We have the opportunity to uncover new passions, which will have a long-lasting impact on us and the organization.   With the right perception, new growth-oriented challenges sound much better than doing the same tasks we are already good at, over and over.   Absorb and be happy doing it.

Once we have absorbed knowledge from the organization, customers/stakeholders, peers, industry news, research, etc., it is time to make our Plan.   We base the plan on a defined set of goals with timelines, and make sure that we/our team have an understanding of who will be focused on which specific goals. 

Now that we have set the goals, the hardest part is to Lead the team through execution.  The team must go through the same thing that we just put ourselves through, and they will need assistance.  Since these are new initiatives, each team member has to believe in them, and become passionate about the reasoning for moving forward.   Does the plan lead to growth/improvement?  Does it improve the products/services we offer our customers?  Does it improve our internal culture?…….. We must lead them to these questions and the answers, in order to get complete buy-in, which is required in order to successfully execute the plan.  We may even have to kick off the process and get our hands dirty first, and then teach the others before moving into a support role.

“I got your back”;  The team needs to feel our Support once the execution phase begins.   We must make ourselves available for strategic discussions, problem solving, and developing/refining goals.  At this stage, we are officially moving into the role of mentor / chief motivator.   We should lead the charge in celebrating successes and highlighting those that are responsible, while at the same time retaining ownership of the overall team goals and taking ultimate responsibility for any failures. 

Absorb – Plan – Lead – Support:  Knowing what phase we are in, and what is next, is crucial to succeeding as a leader, and in providing clarity to the team.   If you find yourself frustrated, circle back and see if you have missed a step or have perhaps followed the wrong flow.



“The ultimate fit is one that both sides view as an unbelievable opportunity. Neither is perfect, but they believe they can do great things together”

When my wife was on the hunt for the right guy, she had a list of characteristics she was looking for. The list is quite humorous and I first learned of it when my mother found it while helping us move, after we were married.  With the help of a friend, she put the time and effort into documenting (on a napkin) her desired qualities.   I guess when I was going through the qualifying rounds I made a passing grade, because here we are.   Little did she know that her having a “list”, was part of my requirements (to know what she wanted). 

 Switching gears to the professional world….

When recruiting, we must look for the right fit and be patient.  The best candidate may not be the highest compensated or most experienced candidate.  Nor may they be the least compensated or least experienced.   They simply must be the best fit at that time, and have the potential to grow in the future.   For example, a small start-up may simply not be able to afford the most experienced and proven people.   So what is the best fit for them?  Most likely it is smart, passionate, and likeable people who the leadership is willing to pour time and effort into, in an effort to help them and the company grow.   Conversely, a larger company that loses a key person, may need the experience and proven success, and can likely afford it. 

The most common mistakes are made when we do a poor job of understanding the perception of others, and making sure that they are not only a good fit for us, but that we are a good fit for them.   It has to work both ways, or the relationship is on the wrong path from the start.  If they are “sacrificing”, they will likely resent the team from the beginning, or they will once the newness wears off.  

Be patient, know what you are looking for, and find the right fit.