We have already established that life does not go in a straight line. Your environment is constantly changing. You have to adjust to the winds, waves and tides. You have to address unseen opportunities and risks.
As a leader you have to navigate your way through and take people with you.
To do that successfully you need to keep your eye on lots of things. How can we simplify this without being simplistic? Here are 3 ways of looking at the environment that you have to journey in.
The Macro view
What big stuff is happening in the world? What are the economic trends? What are you observing in the media? What are politicians majoring on? What are you hearing in your office? What are you seeing with your own eyes in the High Street? What would your Bank Manager say? What have your suppliers told you? What is your best competitor doing differently and why? What do your kids want to do, buy and watch?
For those with MBAs you can factor these points into your strategy plan. I am less interested here in how to put together next year’s business plan, but about playing with your “head up”. It’s about game awareness, about “seeing” what’s going on.
The Meso View
This mid-tier is really important because this directly affects you today. It’s about the organisation that you are in.
One of the fun aspects of my consulting job is that I get to see lots of different organisations. Each one is an organism – a living dynamic thing. Someone had an idea and kicked it off, at a specific time, in a specific place for a specific purpose. That has huge influence on the thinking of your organisation – it is the original DNA. Your organisation might be young, it might be old, it could be tired, it may thriving, it could be overspent, it could be a wild adolescent or you may be just about to launch a brand new one. Each one is unique.
How would you describe your organisation? What do you like about it? What’s changing in your organisation? What would you like to change? Where do you fit in? How does it help you to do your job? How does it limit what you can do? Where would you like to fit? And in true JFK fashion, what can you do for your organisation?
Jot down your answers on a piece of paper. Discuss it with a trusted colleague. What observations are you making?
The Micro View
Now we are talking about your personal situation – your role. There are two aspects to your role. There is the position you have and also how you actually play. A sports star may have a number 7 on the back of his shirt, but because of his personality he adds something else. He could be the creative genius or the team tactician or Mr Motivator or even the team comedian.
What is your job? What is expected of you? What do you love about it? What do others appreciate about you? When do others get frustrated with you? What is the potential of the role? What do you expect of yourself?
What is your immediate environment like “on your boat”? What would you like to make better? What would you like to change that can be changed?
By taking macro, meso and micro views you have invaluable, real-time perspectives about your journey. With these observations in the front of your mind you can begin to spot and assess both opportunities and risks.
This article is an excerpt from my upcoming book – “Leaders’ Map”. It would be great to get your feedback, so please do share your comments here or on Twitter or LinkedIn.
You may also want to check out the Leaders’ Map App which is now available on the Apple App Store.