Lessons from Al

The Leader Charts the Course

May 8, 2019

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I'm Deb- CEO, worldwide executive coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. I'm here to help you take your leadership and impact to the next level!

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The Leader Charts the Course

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This series of “Lessons from Al” is dedicated to the life and legacy of one of the most influential mentors in my life, career, and management, Al Berg.

Leadership expert and my personal mentor, John Maxwell says, “Anyone can steer the ship, but the leader charts the course.”

In this one succinctly profound statement, John summarizes the distinct role of a leader: to chart the course.

Charting the course implies that you are not following someone else’s plan; you are making a new plan. You are doing things others have not done – or doing them in a unique way. You are acting on a vision that, at first, only you can see. You are taking measures to meet a need that no one knows they have…yet.

Everyone else is just reading the map and following directions.

As a leader, YOU draw the map, and YOU give direction.

This is why terms like “innovative”, “cutting edge”, “visionary”, and “forging a new frontier” are often attached to a leader.

Leaders see ahead of the proverbial curve and prepare accordingly.

Al was such a leader. While many in the industry were doing what they had always done, the way they had always done it, and with the same end results, Al was looking to the future. He not only led his company into new and innovative directions; he also had a great deal of influence on the entire industry.

Al charted the course.

And he expected his team to chart their courses as well. He encouraged everyone to lead in their areas – to envision what could be and then chart the course to make it happen. Together, we, as a company, reached some major destinations.

How can you, as a leader, chart the course for your company’s success, for your team’s success, and for your own personal success?

1. Get a Vision

In the mid-1800’s a certain astute businessman and investor took an extended trip to Europe. While there, he studied in depth the levels of new technology, design, and innovation that were occurring there at the time. When he returned home to America, he realized the direction the country would be going in the coming decades; and he went about building a house, up-leveling his business, and making investments based, not on current markets and trends, but on what he knew was coming. His magnificent home stands today as a testament to his vision and foresight. It includes innovations that were unheard of at the time, and in fact, that did not become mainstream for decades. He was a leader who charted the course.

Are you looking at today’s needs…or tomorrow’s possibilities?

2. Set a Goal

There are those who dream. And there are those who are busy with day-to-day activities. But these are no guarantee of success. Leadership thinking is different. Yes, leaders dream and envision the future. And, yes, they do tend to live busy lives. But there is a third facet that makes them stand out from the rest of the crowd. They DREAM…they SET GOALS…then they DO. That one differential – goal setting – is the key. This means they dream and do…with a focused purpose. It sounds very simple, really, but there are many who just dive into business and fly by the seat of their pants. This is reckless, dangerous, and it is not leadership. Leaders are responsible goal-setters.

Are your goals clear? Does your team know what the goals are?

3. Find a Way

One of the biggest reasons people do not achieve the success they desire is that they talk themselves out of the possibility.

Mindset is an underplayed hand. It is critical because you will never be more of a success than you envision yourself to be.

Are you stuck at a certain level of success? Check your mindset.

Get clear on the fact that you CAN and then…FIND A WAY. Where others believe it can’t be done, a leader finds a way.

4. Make a Plan

You have a vision. You have set a clear goal. And you know in your mind that you can achieve that goal. But if you do not have a plan, you will waste valuable time and resources; and it could all, as they say, “fall apart in the end.”

Having a plan means that you have thought through the possibilities and problems, and that you have the steps, details, and preventive measures in place to actually accomplish what you have set out to do.

Do you have a plan for how you will take your vision to reality?

People see great athletes set records, but they are only witnessing the end result of these four actions.

What they don’t see is the leader who charted the course years before…the leader who saw a compelling vision, set a challenging and perhaps seemingly impossible goal, determined in their mind that they would find a way to achieve the goal, and then made a plan to do so.

The years prior to that moment were years of stepping out that plan…to the moment they had first envisioned.

When you see them win, it is the first time. When they win, they have done it thousands of times before in their mind.

This is a leader. A leader charts the course.

As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.