A Different Kind of Doing

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As some of you may know I am currently training for my first ever Triathlon. My goal for this one is to complete uninjured rather than to compete with anyone else. I hit a bit of a road block this week as I have caught the flu – guess that is somewhat unavoidable when you have your face in pools for so many hours!

I am forced at this point to look at what I am doing and make some choices about how I am able to spend my training time – I need a different kind of doing. What is going to help me get to where I need to be and what am I able to do?

This was highlighted by Tom, a client who I spoke with about our recent research and work on the Daily Habits of Exceptional Leaders. The Daily Habits research clearly demonstrated the power of daily exercise usually running or similar. For this client he found on the days he ran he had great clarity and efficiency. Given his commitments he was unable to run every day but was craving its benefits. In sharing this frustration, a colleague shared that they achieved a similar benefit through meditation. Tom now practices a short meditation session on the days when he is unable to run and finds he achieves a similar outcome. He has a different kind of doing.

The Daily Habits research also highlighted that Exceptional Leaders focused on specific kinds of doing every day – What needs to get done? Who do I need to help to get these things done? How do I need to get out of the way? The focus is not on how they can do everything.

This shift of focus is a common trap for Executives transitioning to “C” level roles. Here is an example of how I helped a client focus to a different kind of doing…

“When I first moved from Country Manager to Regional Head, I thought it would just involve doing more of what I was already doing, just working harder. And the moving to a multi-country manager role, I think my first step was to just try to work just as hard and to be that Country Manager in every country I was in.  Of course that’s just simply not possible.

It hit me, thankfully, only after about three months and I remember hitting a wall.  I was feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders, weighed down by the sense of expectation I had of myself. I realised I needed a different type of doing. I couldn’t possibly be the sales person, sales leader and be involved in every single deal in every step of the way.

I had to step back and find a way to enable those same skills and capabilities in other people. I needed a strong leadership team, people around me I could trust who were engaged and aligned with my and the company’s vision.  It wasn’t just a question of finding those people who could do it; that’s part of the process.  It was also about understanding the transformation I personally had to go through so I could provide the support, advice and leadership the team needed to be successful.

So that different type of doing, the realisation that the change had to come from me first and that I had to embrace the fact that this wasn’t the black and white type role I had enjoyed and been successful in previously. In this role there are many shades of grey and doing this role successfully meant embracing and understanding it.

So the role becomes one of guiding and advising and coaching and mentoring and I guess that’s probably one of the things that I’ve always wanted to do and I’ve always wanted to develop in myself. And certainly the transformation process I’ve undergone has enabled me to develop those skills and apply them for the betterment of the organisation as a whole.

It’s a different type of doing.”

Are you focused on the right “doing” to achieve your goals and transition?

How do you shift your perspective to be abreast of the different types of doing you need to be across?

Who can help you shift your thinking?