A segue from Tuesday’s writings:
Now the connection between my two thought trains here?
Instruments are used in aviation and maritime operations when things go dark and dangerous. Values are the decision ‘instruments’ that are used in leadership, or should be, when things go dark and dangerous.
I want you to give some thought, between now and Friday, as to your IFR leadership skills. If things went dark and dangerous for you in a leadership setting, where would you look to? What beliefs do you look to in the value equivalents of airspeed, altitude, horizon, and direction?…
There are core elements, call them strengths or values, that constitute your decision filters…your instrument panel. They flavor everything you do. Because most of the time you are way too busy to sit back and reflect, they run themselves almost on an autopilot. However, the best pilots know their instruments intimately well.
At this point in coaching, people start to squirm a bit. This values bit can be intimidating. Even judgemental.
Are mine valid?
Are they politically correct?
What will others think?
How open do I need to be with them?….
Or even…. do I know what they are?
Some examples…putting myself out there with my own top ones:
Learning, Responsibility, Integrity, Resilience, Relationships, Foundational beliefs
Other examples might be: Commitment, Empathy, Honesty, Patience, Service, Humility, Respect, Achievement, Adaptability, Wisdom, Accountability, and Authenticity
Certainly, we could write for pages on this, just listing value words. Not the point.
As leaders, you often fly into the metaphorical cloud or fog bank. That is not the time to question the genesis of your decisions. As did the J&J CEO, you must quickly pivot and move on what you know, through practice, consideration, and conviction, using that ‘instrument panel’ of values to guide you at crucial times.
You cannot lead at the highest levels without knowing this theme in detail. And it is not a fast process. It takes time, introspection, and change. Never easy. Always productive.
And, as a superb leader, you must also lead others to do the same.