Last week I described a need for developing one’s capacity on three levels: personal, team and as a leader. When we can do this, we really shift the balance of “luck” in our favour, no matter what the endeavour. I’d like to share a second model that is no doubt familiar to many. It dovetails nicely with the first. I have tested this approach in mountaineering, notably my successful climb of Mount Everest, and I apply it in all aspects of my own life. I call it the “deliberate success model”. Here it is:
Vision + Deliberate Action + Reflection = Success
This very stripped-down model describes three essential steps for success:
1. Create your vision of success. This includes both the results you intend to get, and who you will be along the way. For maximum success, you must do this first on a personal level, then with your team and finally as a leader.
When I was first setting my sight on Mount Everest, I created a deliberate mental picture of myself as a competent and confident climber. This was my destination; it would focus my personal development efforts. When it was time to put a high performing team together, we developed a common vision of the team we would strive to be. It formed the basis for our interactions. Finally, I created a vision of myself as the leader I would like to be. It helped me identify the skills, behaviours and characteristics of my leadership that would bring me success on the mountain.
2. Take action. Make a deliberate, focused plan and implement it. This step also applies on all levels. Ideally, your plans spell out specific actions that you will take to develop those base competencies you will need as an individual, a team, and a leader.
Once again, when I was climbing, I connected to great coaches, took courses and planned incremental challenges that would give me experience operating in extreme temperatures, low oxygen and vertical places.
3. Reflect. Periodically ask yourself if you are achieving what you set out to do. Is your vision still the right one for you? Are your actions getting the results you had hoped for? If not, why not, and what do you need to change? This last step is one we often let slip when we get caught up in the rush of everyday life.
This is a repetitive process. If followed deliberately, it keeps us on track to accomplish the things that matter in our lives. When applied to our own development, it helps us focus our efforts on those areas that position us for success as an individual, as a team and as a leader.