Accelerate Yourself!

Accountability Innovation Organizational leadership

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Key Point: The most daunting task facing corporations today is reinventing and accelerating, while simultaneously getting results from the current business model. Harvard’s John P. Kotter has received the 2012 McKinsey Award for his HBR article, Accelerate! The interesting element Kotter introduces is the need for organizations to establish two concurrent operating systems: The one that’s driving the day-to-day business and the other that focuses on continuously challenging and reinventing itself.

If this is what organizations need to do, then it is worth considering doing the same as individuals. The most dangerous situation is doing the same thing well and getting so comfortable that we punch in cruise control. It does not matter what level or position, how many awards, degrees, or kudos you’ve earned. If you are NOT accelerating by reinventing, you may get replaced or at minimum lose flexibility and choice. And unfortunately what you did in the past will count only as a historical footnote. It is what you can do today AND are going to do tomorrow that is the determining factor.

Lets say you had to reapply for your current job today. How would you do with the following interview questions: What is your framework for getting great results? What is your execution quotient? Describe how and where you’ve been a quick study. Explain why people would describe you as passionate, authentic. Describe your cultural agility. Explain leadership flow and collaboration. How do you cross and connect organization boundaries to get a valued outcome? How digitally proficient are you? Describe how many people on LinkedIn have recommended you and why? Share the last few blogs you have written and how they are thought leading? Tell me about the most inspirational communication you have ever developed. Share the most innovative things you have done the last 12 months. Why do you think you are generationally savvy? In 10 minutes connect the above questions into a story to show your financial acumen. Conclude by explaining to me how you have or will be a legendary builder of teams. Outline your purpose statement, core values and best attributes. Write down 10 numbers that tell me you understand and know the state of your physical well-being. Explain where you are on both the emotional and spiritual quotient growth dimensions.

All these questions (and many more) will be asked of future job candidates. This is based on research from numerous parties (see The 2020 Workplace by Jeanne Meister and Dr. Karie Willyerd). What does that mean for you and me?

Character Moves:

  1. Keep moving your character, attribute and skill development forward. Look where your organization/industry/function needs to head and determine a path that will intersect. (For example, every organization will need people who can develop insight from BIG data).
  2. Apply a growth mindset and think of personal acceleration as a wonderful way to constantly refresh. It’s like when you can’t find a parking space close to where you need to be. Park at the end of the parking lot and enjoy the fresh air and exercise rather than lamenting and driving around in circles hoping for a spot to open up.
  3. Accelerate consciously. Retooling after someone speeds by is too late and too hard. Get in front. Get going. Establish and concurrently run two operating systems: The current effective you and the one reinventing you.

Accelerate in the Triangle,

Lorne