The Week btwn Xmas and New Year is Highest Leverage

This is the highest leverage week of the year. Why? Because everyone else is on vacation and the office is quiet. Even if your office continues to chug along, most of your clients are with their families and otherwise engaged.  This means you have five days to engage in strategic reflection  – without a doubt the highest leverage activity you can carry out.

Strategic reflection is a service I have provided to almost a hundred leaders.  Here are four critical guidelines for doing it right:

  1. Look back before you look forward.
    Review your year. Cut across all initiatives to get a holistic perspective. Pull out your calendar. Note your most important achievements, most powerful setbacks, and critical partnerships. Look for patterns and ask (a) how will they continue into the year ahead and (b) what can you do to use them to your advantage?
  2. Seek to build on successes rather than overcome failures.
    A strength-based approach puts you in your best position to control the game. Rather than trying to get out from under a difficult situation, reverse the dynamic like a judo move. Identify the advantage you bring and ask, how can I put this in play?
  3. Be proactive in overcoming obstacles
    Challenge yourself to identify your undoing and setbacks before they happen. Be thorough and comprehensive in your analysis. Put together offensive moves and identify contingencies. Meet oncoming issues with a plan.
  4. Enroll others to round out your perspective.
    Every project is social. As you conduct your strategic review call on others’ points-of-view to ensure you get a robust picture. Share you plans and ideas. Enroll them in helping you to achieve success in 2010.

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