Using Chin Up Leadership to Plan AheadWe talk frequently about looking to the future; being a visionary leader. It’s crucial in order to stay relevant in a quickly changing marketplace.

Kevin Eikenberry’s post on Chin Up Leadership, therefore struck a chord.

According to Kevin, a visionary leader should keep his or her chin up and look to the future, and therefore, the bigger picture.

“You must look to the future, connect current work to the long-term strategy, and you must be able to survey the environment in which you and your team are operating.”

Turns out if you’re busy with your head down, pointed at your computer screen and your to-do list, you won’t be able to do any of that.

Six Ways to Practice Chin Up Leadership

  • Review goals and strategies daily. If you don’t keep on task with your goals, the time slips away and you find a year has past, and for example, you never followed up on those New Year’s resolutions. As a leader, keep those goals in mind and assess daily how you are doing to keep on track.
  • Plan. The plan is driven by those goals. Knowing where you want to go is the first step. The strategy is what will get you there. The plan is how you will get there. If you are following advice and delegating more, it’s leaving you more time to plan.
  • Read. Ken suggests to read about your industry and more. Let’s put an emphasis on the “more.” Read books – both fiction and non-fiction, blogs, and news sites. Push yourself to read things you might not agree with or that are outside of your industry. It helps to broaden your perspective. Too often we find ourselves reading items we agree with, nodding throughout, only to have our ideas validated rather than challenged. Resist that temptation.
  • Talk to others. With technology, the need to get away from the office and see people in real life diminishes. Make a point of getting out and attending events or social occasions where you’ll have the opportunity to meet new and interesting people. Don’t forget that feeling of having a fascinating conversation with someone new.
  • Ask why. It’s the six-year old boy game. Keep asking why. “But why?” Don’t always accept things for what they are, or just because it’s the way it’s been done. Do it differently.
  • Reflect. This is a big topic. Taking quiet time is critical to refresh the brain and let the big ideas flow. Turn off all distractions. If possible, do it away from the office. Your preference is what is important here. For some, they do their best thinking while running, for others, while driving or meditating. Do what works for you.

What things would you add to keep looking forward?