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3 Tips to Carry You Through the Week After The Election

3 Tips to Carry You Through the Week After The Election

So the election is over and you woke up the morning of November 9th possibly experiencing a wide range of emotions. Most of us understood that this election represented more than just two sides. There were hundreds of combinations of reasons, beliefs and motivations that contributed to millions of individual selections and yet the morning after, millions of people have suddenly been shoved into two categories – one side against another. Is this fair? That is your call. So what do you do now?

Be Mindful

  • Awareness and gratitude. Try not to spend so much time focusing on things you have no power to change. Imagine a life where instead of focusing on those things, you switched your attention and directed all of your energy to the things that were in your control. Try it. Then top it off with a heavy serving of awareness and gratitude. Be aware of all that you have and don’t have. Be grateful for the challenges and opportunities you are fortunate enough to have experienced, are presently experiencing and the ones that you have yet to experience. It is those things that have helped you move past where you were, helped you get to where you are and that will get you to where you need to be.
  • Reality. Learn to take things for what they are and temper your expectations. Doing so limits disappointments. Reality is what you can control and influence. Everything else is out of your hands. Recognizing life is already hard enough to handle, try not to give yourself more than you can reasonably (and unreasonably) control. Outcomes and results don’t determine peace (or your efforts to create it), happiness and the ability to have and spread joy. Don’t get lost in the shuffle; stay focused.
  • Leisure. Dedicate yourself to working vigorously and purposefully on your self-development instead of allowing the media and other distractions in your life to consume you. How you spend your downtime says a lot about you. The key here is to always be growing in some way whether it be personally through reading and learning, growing by giving to and developing others, or any mixture of similar acts. If your thoughts and actions are pure and with good intention, your downtime will likely reflect that.

Surround yourself with great people. Being around great people, listening and learning from them will have positive effects on your life. Receiving advice and counsel are also other benefits. Just being around great people can penetrate your being if you pay close attention to things like what they put their effort in to, what they avoid and their mannerisms.

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It’s also a good idea to surround yourself with great books. Reading is fundamental to the process of self-development and mindfulness. It facilitates the exchange of thoughts and understanding. It also allows you to learn from others in a way that allows you to prepare for things that may happen in your life or gain a different perception or interpretation of things that may have occurred in your life.

We’ve had elections before… many of them in fact. What are some of the lessons you could have learned or have observed through history that could have prepared you for what you are feeling today?

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“Truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable anymore.” – Herman Melville

Be open to what arises moment after moment and accept that life is constant change. Realize this: change is good and a part of everything, for nothing remains the same. Every day of your life is change, every period of your life is change, we are and always will be in a state of change as will everything around us. So, embrace change, for it is natural and there is no true benefit in anything remaining the same.

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3 Tips to Carry You Through the Week

Pause – Breathe – Listen

When you feel yourself needing to release some potentially regrettable words, opinions, or aggression…PAUSE! Take a few long seconds before doing anything or addressing anyone. Notice where you need help or where others need help. If you have to communicate that you need some space, then do so. But before you do anything, clear your mind and BREATHE!  Agree or disagree. Whatever side of things you find yourself on in the next hours, day, weeks, and months; respect people’s rights to have an opinion. Not everything needs a response, consider others’ perspectives as deep as you can and just LISTEN!

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Tyrone Robinson

Life, Career, Executive Coach & Business Consultant

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Published on July 29, 2020

How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

Have you been thinking of how you can be a more strategic leader during these uncertain times? Has the pandemic thrown a wrench at all your carefully laid out plans and initiatives?

You’re not alone. The truth is, we all want some stability in our careers and teams during this disruptive pandemic.

However, this now requires a bit more effort than before and making the leap from merely surviving to thriving means buckling down to some serious strategic thinking and maintaining a determined mindset.

Is There a Way to Thrive Despite These Disruptions?

Essentially – yes, although you need to be willing to put in the work. Every leader wants to develop strategic thinking skills so that they can enhance overall team performance and boost their company’s success, but what exactly does it mean to be strategic in the context of the times we live in?

If you happen to be in a leadership position in your organization right now, you are most probably navigating precarious waters given the disruptions caused by the pandemic. There’s a lot more pressure than before because your actions and decisions will have a much greater impact these days not just on you, but also to the people who are part of your team.

Companies often bring me in to coach executives on strategic thinking and planning. And while pre-pandemic I would usually start by highlighting the advantages of strategic thinking, nowadays, I always begin these Zoom coaching sessions by driving home the point that this pandemic has now made strategic thinking not just an option but an absolute must.

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Assessing and making plans through the lens of a good strategy might require significant work at first. Nevertheless, you can take comfort in the fact that the rewards will far outweigh the effort, as you’ll soon see after following the 8 strategic steps I have outlined below.

8 Steps to Strategic Thinking

As events unfold during these strange times, you’re bound to feel wrong-footed every now and then. Being a leader during this pandemic means preparing for more change not just for you, but for your whole team as well.

As states and cities go through a cycle of lockdowns and reopening, employees will experience the full gamut of human emotions in dizzying speed, and you will often be called on to provide insight and stability to your team and workplace.

Strategic thinking is all about anticipation and preparation. Rather than expending your energy merely helping your company put out fires and survive, you can put the time to better use by charting out a solid plan that can protect and help you and your company thrive.

Take the following steps to build solid initiatives and roll out successful projects:

Step 1: Step Back, Then Set the Scope

One of the things that leaders get wrong during their first attempt at strategic thinking is expecting that it is just another item on a checklist. The truth is, you need to take a good, long look at the bigger picture before anything else. This means decisively prioritizing and stepping away from tasks that can be delegated to others. Free up your schedule so you can focus on this crucial task at hand.

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Then, proceed with setting the scope and the strategic goals of the project or initiative you plan to build or execute. Ask yourself the bigger question of why you need to embark on a particular project and when would be the right time to do so.

You need to set a timeline as well, anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. Keep in mind that your projections will deteriorate the further out you go as you make longer-term plans.

For this reason, add extra resources, flexibility, and resilience if you have a longer timeline. You should also be making the goals less specific if you’re charting it out for the longer term.

Step 2: Make a List of Experts

Make and keep a list of credible people who can contribute solid insight and feedback to your initiative. This could range from key stakeholders to industry experts, mentors, and even colleagues who previously planned and rolled out similar projects.

Reach out to the people on this list regularly while you work through the steps to bring diverse insight into your planning process. This way, you will be able to approach any problem from every angle.

Bringing key stakeholders into this initial process will also display your willingness to listen and empathize with their issues. In return, this will build trust and potentially pave the way for smoother buy-in down the line.

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Step 3: Anticipate the Future

After identifying your goals and gathering feedback, it’s time to consider what the future would look like if everything goes as you intuitively anticipate. Then, lay out the kind and amount of resources (money, time, social capital) that might be needed to keep this anticipated future running.

Step 4: Brainstorm on Potential Internal and External Problems

Next, think of how the future would look if you encountered unexpected problems internal and external to the business activity that seriously jeopardize your expected vision of the future. Write out what kind of potential problems you might encounter, including low-probability ones.

Assess the likelihood that you will run into each problem. To gauge, multiply the likelihood by the number of resources needed to address the problem. Try to convert the resources into money if possible so that you can have a single unit of measurement.

Then, think of what steps you can take to address these internal and external problems before they even happen. Write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Lastly, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different possible problems and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

Step 5: Identify Potential Opportunities, Internal and External

Imagine how your expected plan would look if unexpected opportunities came up. Most of these will be external but consider internal ones as well. Then, gauge the likelihood of each scenario and the number of resources you would need to take advantage of each opportunity. Convert the resources into money if possible.

Then, think of what steps you can take in advance to take advantage of unexpected opportunities and write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Finally, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different unexpected opportunities and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

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Step 6: Check for Cognitive Biases

Check for potential cognitive biases that are relevant to you personally or to the organization as a whole, and adjust the resources and plans to address such errors.[1] Make sure to at least check for loss aversion, status quo bias, confirmation bias, attentional bias, overconfidence, optimism bias, pessimism bias, and halo and horns effects.

Step 7: Account for Unknown Unknowns (Black Swans)

To have a more effective strategy, account for black swans as well. These are unknown unknowns -unpredictable events that have potentially severe consequences.

To account for these black swans, add 40 percent to the resources you anticipate. Also, consider ways to make your plans more flexible and secure than you intuitively feel is needed.

Step 8: Communicate and Take the Next Steps

Communicate the plan to your stakeholders, and give them a heads up about the additional resources needed. Then, take the next steps to address the unanticipated problems and take advantage of the opportunities you identified by improving your plans, as well as allocating and reserving resources.

Finally, take note that there will be cases when you’ll need to go back and forth these steps to make improvements, (a fix here, an improvement there) so be comfortable with revisiting your strategy and reaching out to your list of experts.

Conclusion

A great way to deal with feelings of uncertainty during this pandemic is to anticipate obstacles with a good plan – and a sure road to that is practicing strategic thinking.

In the coming months and years, you’ll need to continue navigating uncharted territory so that you can lead your team to safe waters. Regularly doing these 8 steps to strategic thinking will ensure that you can prepare for and adapt  to the coming changes with increasing clarity, perspective, and efficiency.[2]

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Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

Reference

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