A ‘Beginner’s Mind’ – Refresh Your Leadership Perspective This Year!

Leadership…when you started your journey, you certainly never included COVID-19 and the stresses of 2020 in your list of challenges!

Before January ‘clocks out’ and 1/12 of 2021 is behind us…and while your team is still spending most of their working time on what seems to be an endless series of Zoom calls (what the heck would we have done without Zoom, or Teams, or Google Meets, or whatever platform you use, this past year???).

Are You Making Time for Reflection and Introspection?

Take the opportunity to pause, spend some time being introspective and think about your personal “Leadership Reset” for 2021…the value and wonder of ‘taking a beginner’s mindset to leadership’…and reenergizing yourself and your team! In my weekend reading this last weekend in January 2021, The Wall Street Journal posted a great article by author Tom Vanderbilt titled “For New Years’ Resolutions, Never Think You’re Too Old to Become a Beginner”. (You may need a WSJ subscription to use this hyperlink to the article.)

Reading the article and taking a quick look at Vanderbilt’s new book, “Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning” got me thinking about enduring topic of “Leadership and Lifelong Learning”. Whatever leadership position you find yourself in this January…Founding Entrepreneur, CEO, C-Suite Executive, Team Leader on a Project, Shop Floor Supervisor…You have a unique opportunity to take a fresh look at taking a beginner’s mindset and learn something new that will expand your personal bandwidth while growing you as a leader.

Beginner’s Mindset Ideas for 2021

What might you think about approaching with that ‘beginner’s mindset’? The possibilities are endless…Vanderbilt’s WSJ article focuses on taking that beginner’s approach to learning a new skill, like juggling, as a way to expand your mind…Maybe for you in your leadership role it is starting to have regular ‘one-to-one’ conversations with your direct reports that explore ‘how are we doing’.

Maybe it is using Patrick Lencioni’s “Personal Histories Exercise” from his books “The Advantage” and “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” to deepen relationships among your team (yes, it is uncomfortable and a bit risky…that’s part of expanding your leadership bandwidth). Use Simon Sinek’s wealth of YouTube video content to expand your own thinking then pay-it-forward into your team.

A good starting point is Steven Covey’s admonition – ‘begin with the end in mind’. Spend some time with yourself reflecting on where and how you’d like to grow. That may be working on a new hobby or skill that is only indirectly related to your leadership. For me, photography is my passion when I’m not ‘working’ and I find that getting deeply focused on photography – out somewhere taking pictures of wild life, or expanding my editing skills in Lightroom and Photoshop – actually opens me to fresh thinking and new approaches to projects I’m working on and executives I’m coaching.

A very successful CEO I work with recently took up pottery as a hobby. He’s become incredibly prolific at turning out imaginative pieces of work and in the process turned the basement of his home into a full-blown studio while displaying finished pieces in the foyer of his home. He’s even engaged an instructor / coach to teach him more technique and skills.

Your 2021 Beginner’s Mindset Journey…

So, whether your approach is a new hobby or skill…or deciding that you’ll read three different books about leadership and identify three things your start doing differently…three behaviors that are different for you…from your readings…the point is…do something to expand your personal bandwidth, point of view and leadership skills.

It’s important! Leaders in 2021 are going to continue to be tested…many will be challenged in new ways from even those of 2020. Your personal challenge is to choose growing as a leader…keeping your people engaged, green and growing will continue to take ‘center stage’ this year, whether you are working ‘fact-to-face’ or remotely.

ARETE – The Pursuit of Excellence…Achieving Your Highest Potential

ARETE (are-uh-tay) is an important part of our vocabulary at CEOIQ. It is an ancient Greek word, that roughly translates to “the pursuit of excellence and achieving your highest potential”.

Each of us is on a personal journey of ARETE…the challenges and tests on that journey have never been greater than what we face as this COVID-19 “thing” continues in 2021. You have an opportunity to pursue excellence and achieve your highest (leadership) potential by taking a beginner’s mindset and exploring new ways to ‘show up’ as a leader in your organization!

I’d love to hear from you about what you decided to take on, get started, make happen by taking that beginner’s mindset on your 2021 Journey of ARETE.

Ben Griffin… entrepreneur, corporate executive, facilitator, coach, consultant, photographer… has followed a constantly evolving path in his personal journey of ARETE.  For the past 20 years, he has facilitated CEO Peer Advisory Groups and coached many CEO’s in companies of all sizes.  In addition he is a largely self-taught photographer who chases wildlife photo ops wherever he can find them. A great fan of that Kelly Clarkson song, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,”  Ben has learned that truth through hard won personal experience. From losing a company he started in a venture capital deal that went sideways to getting fired three times from corporate positions (he says it took him awhile to realize he wasn’t the ‘best choice for an employee’) to emerging from a stint as a ‘turnaround guy’ and evolving into a facilitator and coach for entrepreneurs, he knows the title first-hand.

Ben is evolving CEOIQ into a digital home to the peer groups that he and his colleagues facilitate and as a resource for leadership laboratory content developed during his career. He is a certified expert practitioner for the PXT Select assessment from Wiley International. You can check out his full bio on the CEOIQ website https://www.ceoiq.com/about/ben-griffin/ .

Ben Griffin
Author: Ben Griffin

Facilitator - CEO Peer Advisory Group; Executive Coach; Photographer