March 14, 2022

How can you achieve your Vision? (Leadership Challenge 6)


How can we achieve our big visions? In the leadership world we talk a lot about Vision. How I understand how vision works in the kind leadership model is that our vision is sort of, well, our understanding of the better world that we want to see and we want to help create through our work and the work of our organizations. It’s what keeps us going, especially if we can envision it in detail as well as the major steps that you need to take to get from where you are now to where you want to be. Because a vision without the right plan to execute it is nothing but a dream.
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Resources:

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Get Un-stuck! a Course in Kind Leadership Decisionmaking

Transcript

So, How can we achieve our big visions? In the leadership world we talk a lot about Vision. How I understand how vision works in the kind leadership model is that our vision is sort of, well, our understanding of the better world that we want to see and we want to help create through our work and the work of our organizations. Its what keeps us going, especially if we can envision it in detail as well as the major steps that you need to take to get from where you are now to where you want to be. Because a vision without the right plan to execute it is nothing but a dream. Welcome to the Kind Leadership Challenge! Im Sarah Clark, founder of the Kind Leadership Guild. My PhD in higher ed Leadership plus 17 years working in academic libraries from the front desk to the Deans office taught me a secret I want to share with all of you. You don't have to be a perfect leader to build a better world. And your school or library definitely doesn't need to be perfect either. So here's the deal. Educational and library leaders like you give me 5-10 minutes of your Monday morning. In return, I'll empower you to heal yourself and your school or library. No long interviews, no celebrities, no lectures, no nonsense. Just short stories and simple challenges you can implement this week. Each challenge is designed to coach you in the confidence, skill, and trust you need to let go of a little control. You and your team will begin growing humanely, managing effectively, and partnering collaboratively, and your school or library will build a more informed and educated world along the way. Now before we get started, I want to acknowledge that weve made it past the 5 episode mark! Were at Episode 6! And apparently, two thirds of all published podcasts have 3 episodes or less, so we are already ahead of the curve! And that is thanks to all of you. The kind leadership guild community is still small, but were growing rapidly with each episode I release, and I thank you for that! However, the world needs kind leadership now more than ever, and part of that means reaching out to more educational and library leaders who want to build a better world without burning out. So In addition to this weeks challenge, Id like you to pick one colleague that youre gonna tell about this podcast, and send them a link to your favorite episode so far! Youll gain an accountability partner on your own kind leadership journey, and the podcast will gain another chance to grow and thrive. So thanks for your help with that, and now on with the show! I suspect most people listening to this podcast are practical folks who want to take action, at least on some level, so Im guessing were agreed any vision also needs a plan for how youre gonna get there. However, theres a flip side to that coin. Solid execution of tasks without remaining focused on your larger goal, for whatever reason, is an easy and all too common way to lose your motivation and your sense of direction. Ultimately, hard work without connecting to the vision becomes nothing but busy work, and can be the first step down the road to doubt, drama, dysfunction, and ultimately burnout. Back when I started my PhD, a little over 10 years ago now, I was very clear on one thing. Now I wasnt sure if I wanted to stay in libraries or follow another path within higher ed leadership, but I did NOT want to become a professor. Now, I respect the job and the people who can do it, and as a geek I could definitely understand the charms of devoting my career to teaching, research, and service. But by working alongside university faculty I also understood the frightful faculty academic job market, the stresses of the tenure track, or even worse, adjunct life, and everything else that goes along with being a professor in the 21st century. There was only one problem with my plan. In my PhD Program, I had a professor who REALLY thought I might have the makings of a scholar. And because my path to my real vision of becoming an academic library director, or maybe something else, was obviously still a little hazy, I let her talk me into writing a proposal for a national conference in the middle of my first year as a PhD student, while also working full time, and on the cusp of being promoted into my first leadership position. I didnt even really like the paper she wanted me to rewrite as a proposal! But I still did it, because I didnt turn down opportunities, even if it seemed a little tangential. It couldnt hurt, and I was working so hard already that it wouldnt make much of a difference, right? Well, that stupid proposal was the straw that broke the camels back. Fast forward about three weeks later, when I was sitting in my childhood bedroom on my laptop the day before thanksgiving, frantically typing this proposal that I neither liked nor wanted to write, just because a professor thought I should want to become a researcher. I was on the verge of having a meltdown over something that went beyond even extra credit! Now my mom, who is familiar with my many, many episodes of overachieving burnout, came in the room, got the whole sordid tale out of me, and told me to take a nap. And being a good daughter, I did. And two hours later, I felt better! And I realized that as nice as the idea of the life of the mind was, it absolutely, positively was not for me beyond the research that was necessary to get the PhD. I did end up finishing the proposal in a very perfunctory manner, it was declined, as it should have been, and I wasnt even all that broken up about it. Because the whole thing had helped me become much clearer on the right path to achieve my big vision. Like most things in leadership, successful executions about Balance. Its found through Balance. Dream big, but act small. I get into this more in my Get Unstuck course on kind leadership decision-making, but you need both a clear understanding of what your goal looks like as well as a plan comprised of clear, doable steps to get you there. So your challenge for today is this Think about the goal that is energizing you the most right now. Are you dreaming a big enough dream that it can help move the needle towards your better world that you wish to see? And does your implementation plan need some refining to come into focus? Come on over to the facebook group and share your challenge in the episode thread. Dont worry, its a private group, and we even have anonymous posting and commenting options if that makes you more comfortable. And keep an eye out for this weeks Wednesday livestream in the group, where Ill dig deeper into this topic, and answer any questions you may have. Thanks for listening and for taking action to become a kinder leader. if you found this episode insightful, give us a like or review. Or even better, share this challenge with a colleague! Never doubt that day by day, youre building a better world, even if you can't see it yet. So until next time, stay kind now.

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