What does it mean to lead fearlessly? Many of you know Beretta, our Great Dane Therapy Dog. He visits hospitals, workplaces, and children’s centers. With his wagging tail and calm demeanor, he offers emotional support to those with whom he comes in contact. But I have noticed another aspect of Beretta’s work. He leads fearlessly. This is a dog who is comfortable in his own skin—or should I say, fur. He can survey the environment in which he is working, and know how best to navigate through it. Beretta has learned the routine for visiting the community hospital on a weekly basis, and handles it well. However, on the other occasions, each workshop, each organizational visit is an unique and different experience. With quiet confidence and self-assurance, he steps into the situation and proceeds to interact with the individuals he meets. Never pushy, Beretta makes his presence known, while modeling a sense of self-assuredness.
As the leader of your business, you are responsible for communicating your vision and for inspiring your work team to assure your vision becomes a reality. Job descriptions and project assignments must be clearly defined. Outcomes must have a laser focus. Action steps, accountabilities and responsibilities must be allocated. Such leadership actions assure that little falls through the cracks.
Here are 2 aspects in this process of leading fearlessly.
1. Putting Your Business Strategic Planning Process in Motion
Each year you, as the leader, are responsible for creating a strategic agenda for your business. This involves refining your over-arching vision that may need to be modified depending on how your business performed this past year. As a business strategic plan is created, there is always the need for trade-offs—deciding in which direction to continue to move your business. The true essence of designing any business strategy is choosing what not to do.
Strategy is about combining activities. In companies with good strategies, the activities complement one another in ways that create economic value. Activities should reinforce the core vision. Your workforce looks to you for direction. Obviously, this is part of leading fearlessly, because as the leader, you need to communicate how the business will survive and thrive in challenging times.
2. Implementing Operational Effectiveness with Clear Work Procedures
The operational agenda involves continual improvement in the implementation process. With new projects and new clients there are always going to be changes to how work gets done. As people in the workforce become more experienced, it is not unusual to see them find ways to improve procedures, become more efficient and deliver higher quality work. Whereas with the strategy activities, leadership may find flexibility and trade-offs to be common practice, with the implementation activities, leadership must uphold high standards and insist on consistency in output.
Leading fearlessly translates into leading with conviction and modeling the behavior you expect others to emulate in the workplace and community. Leading fearlessly blends humility, honesty and trust. Leading fearlessly means leading with authenticity. How are you leading fearlessly in your organization? Are you approachable? Reflect on the past workweek. How will you lead fearlessly? What would you change? Life experiences provide opportunities to instruct future improvement. That’s what Beretta offers every day.