I just finished reading “The Leader You Want to Be” by Amy Jen Su. She paints a vivid picture of two leaders – one who is firing on all cylinders and is content and another who is spinning his wheels and feeling frustrated. She calls the first person “Leader A” and the second “Leader B”.
What is startling is that all of us are both Leader A and Leader B. Some days, we are engaged in productive, building strong relationships with clients, customers comment and suppliers. We can see our legacy in the teams we build and the innovation projects we complete. These are Leader A days.
Other times, we spend all day in seemingly pointless meetings, fighting fires, and refereeing personal conflicts. At the end of the day, we feel spent and exhausted. We are too discouraged to work out and bury our resentment. These are Leader B days. “The Leader You Want to Be” gives tips on how to increase the ratio of Leader A to Leader B days.
In her book, Amy Jen Su discusses the importance of self-awareness. Of course, we have to know when we are in Leader B mode to take steps to move away from it. Yet, Leader B is as addictive as chocolate or alcohol. It seems that if we just do a little more we can escape. But just like having another sugary snack or glass of wine does not help the problem (and might make it worse), trying to do more with less time just makes more Leader B days occur with more intensity.
Self-awareness means we can look at ourselves as leaders from the outside in. We can certainly ask our trusted advisors for honest insight to our behavior and performance. We can also observe our team interactions and results. Missed product development deadlines and project budget overruns are symptoms of Leader B mode.
Life Design Master Mind
Design Thinking is a set of problem-solving tools that rely on collaboration and empathy. Design Thinking does not necessarily offer a better solution than other problem-solving methods, but it does offer an opportunity to increase our self-awareness and to utilize our network of trusted advisors. Life Design Master Mind applies Design Thinking tools to identify the best path forward to fit personal and professional passions. You learn how to creatively analyze situations so that you don’t let the temptations of Leader B mode derail you and maximize Leader A days.
A master mind group is a peer advisory board that meets regularly – either in person or online. Nothing in the master mind discussion leaves the room so we are all safe to explore and learn. Master mind group members are pre-screened to match experience levels so that everyone both gives and receives help.
For example, in my master mind group, I recently learned tips to improve PowerPoint presentations from another group member who has expertise in digital technology. Our facilitator has over 20 years of experience and offers valuable sales and marketing tips. In an upcoming master mind group meeting, I am going to share my own presentation on Building Effective Cross-Functional Teams.
In this way, all of us in the master mind group both give and receive help. We learn from one another and, importantly, hold each other accountable to reach significant business goals and objectives. When we do meet a goal, we all celebrate and share the sweet pleasure of success.
Increase Your Leader A Days
All of us want to increase our Leader A days when we feel productive, efficient, and successful. Design Thinking tools that build self-awareness (like mind mapping and customer journey maps) help us to recognize patterns of destructive Leader B behavior and pursue activities that support Leader A mode. When we combine Design Thinking tools with a board of trusted peer advisors, the power of Life Design Master Mind results in life changing Leader A transformations.
Learn more about Design Thinking tools with hands-on practice at the Institute of Management Consultants conference. I’m speaking this Sunday in Dallas on how to Enhance your Consulting Skills with Creativity. Next, join me on 21 October at noon CDT (1 pm EDT/10 am PDT) for a free Q and A webinar on Life Design Master Mind. You don’t want to miss this chance to grow your professional insights!