Off the Path

We are off the beaten path of what we know as “normal” or “usual” in the day-to-day operations of our teams, companies and markets. We are in the real practice of leadership. There is so much noise in the world, and your ability to listen, understand, adapt, sift, synthesize and synergize with others to define a path forward is needed now more than ever.

Many have been in this place before, including myself…. numerous times. I understand the feeling of moving forward into ambiguity and uncertainty. I have worked with thousands of leaders as they move forward into the undiscovered places, and there are hundreds of options and models to use as you go.

Here is one practice that can help support you on your journey:

Everyone is learning as they go. This is a time to be smart, aware and uncomfortable – use the STOP* acronym as method to define what is true.

S – Slow down. Write down key points that are catching the attention of you and your team. Note the issues/opportunities in three sentences or less. If you have more than three sentences, you have more than one issue/opportunity. Prioritize them.

T – Think. Identify if the key points are true for you, your team, company, customers, etc. Where possible, validate them with facts. Do not let fear be in the driver’s seat. Understand the risks.

O – Observe. What has really changed? Make a list of what is the same and what is different. How can the roadblocks or changes be an opportunity for your team and/or company?

P – Plan. If many are believing what they are hearing and it is not true, enter into the conversation to understand their emotions and what they need to move forward with strength and agility. Collaborate with others inside and outside of your company, identify your resources, timelines and what is realistic. Zero in on the critical few that will make the greatest difference in this time period. Be very clear on your goal and outcome. Move forward.

*Disclaimer: If you find this model of value and would like to re-purpose within your own teams, please contact us for licensing and pricing details.

One thing I have learned from my own experiences and others, is that one good choice leads to another… one step at a time. If you make a misstep, it’s okay, just adjust as you go forward.  When I am navigating through these times, I keep this image in front of me.

Each step you take, lights the way for yourself and others.