‘Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I can move the Earth’
Failing to leverage what we currently have is costly. All too often it costs us time, opportunity and ultimately our ability to maximize our own success and fulfillment. In a time, where we are constantly being asked to do more with less; respond nimbly and confidently to large scale change; and get ready for greater levels of disruption, knowing how to best leverage our knowledge, experience and networks is vital.
Essentially leverage allows us to take what we have and make it go much further. It is gained by knowing what levers we have to pull in order to elevate our current standing. As leaders all have levers and ‘tools’ in our own career, business and network that we can pull on to help us gain ground. The key is working out exactly what they are and how to best pull on them and when.
Ritchie Norton, founder of Global Consulting Circle, a corporate growth consultancy says that ‘attempting to succeed without embracing the tools immediately available for your success is no less absurd than trying to row a boat using only your hands or trying to unscrew a screw using nothing more than your fingernail’.
Ultimately not embracing the tools at hand impedes our growth. As business leaders our most valuable ‘tool’ is our people. How we tap into the talents, motivations and capabilities of our people is our ultimate challenge. We need to ensure that we have the right people, in the right place at the right time if both organizational and individual growth is to be realized. As businesses continue to face the challenge of navigating increasing complexity, speed to market and global reach this is no easy feat and requires both alignment and connection to strategy and people.
As individuals we need to ensure that we have an accurate view of what our own knowledge and ‘tools’ are and what we need to invest in to ensure that we remain relevant and aligned with the organisations that we work for. If we don’t we can all too easily find ourselves stuck not only in our roles but in our careers.
So what can you use today as way of leverage in your career? I would encourage you to consider the following six points:
- The business of you: In order to effectively leverage your experience you need to be crystal clear on where your core skills, strengths, achievements lie and most importantly how they are regarded. Just as a business owner is responsible for the management of their business assets, you are responsible for the management of your career assets.
- Position: Know what your position affords you as way of influence and also how to best position yourself as way of building it to enhance your professional regard and that of your team, peers and networks.
- Strategic alliances and networks: Consider the knowledge and talents of those within your networks and also the opportunities and potential that could be afforded through collaborating with others.
- Current opportunity: All too often it is the ‘next big thing’ that distracts us when really what we need to do is focus on nailing the opportunity we currently have. The reality is it is what we do today really counts! It has the power to consolidate and propel us forward or backwards based on what and how we deliver.
- Digital footprint: Whilst our digital profiles are often used to validate who are and our previous history, there is an enormous opportunity to use it to position ourselves as industry experts and the businesses that we work for as market leaders. Offering enormous influence it is essential that we learn how to proactively create and use it so that we remain in control of how we are positioned and regarded.
- Investments: Time, money and effort are all resources that we need to ensure we are investing wisely in. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I making the most efficient use of my own time and that of others? Do I need to delegate / assume ownership of certain areas?
- Are there any educational qualifications, short courses, networks or coaching programs that I can invest in to help me operate more effectively?
- Have I go the right structure in place to maximize the knowledge, talents and skills of my team or do I need to invest some time and effort to review?
The key to leverage is in knowing what we have in our own tool kit as way of supporting both our own opportunities and those around us. Our preparedness to reach out to others in a genuine and purposeful manner when we are in need and conversely to give to others when they also do so will allow us to truly leverage our capabilities and future successes as well as those of the people we lead.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts.