Blueprint for Life and Leadership

Successful people, model themselves after successful people. You want to be a good leader? Find a leader that exemplifies what you believe are key characteristics, qualities, skills and abilities that you need and write them down. That is only the beginning. Watch them, the way they handle situations, people, projects and as much as you can see, their very life. “Take the meat and spit out the bones.” Take from them what will help you, and include in your developing blueprint for your life… as a leader.

What in the world is a blueprint? And why is it so important for you to have one? A blueprint is a design plan, or a model. Builders use them to ensure that what they are building is exactly what the “economic buyer”, that’s you – wants as a finished project. That’s a simple definition. No rocket science needed. Do you have one for yourself? For your team? For your organization? A blueprint for life and leadership is what each one of us needs if we plan to be successful. I know you remember the old adage, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It applies here too, for your life and leadership!

Imagine you want to build your dream oceanfront home in San Diego, California. You own two acres of a lot free and clear right on the ocean. Money is no object. You have it in the bank. You’ve selected an excellent architect and excellent contractor. And they are ready to meet with you and discuss the project. At your first development team meeting, you get asked the critical questions: “What do you want? What would make this oceanfront home perfect for you and your family?” You don’t have an answer for these questions.

MADE-MEN-Blueprint

You can’t see the finished house at this early stage. You figure you’ll get started and see where the project goes. Wrong answer! Without some input from you, the architect can’t put pen to paper and see what you see and the contractor shouldn’t begin building. Much like my scenario we need to have a blueprint for our life as a leader and we should ensure that every person on our team has a blueprint, at least as it pertains to what they do in the organization and where they are trying to go. Especially high-performance people. It is critical that you are clear about what they need to continue to develop and they should understand that they can’t make it to the next level without a clear plan.

Let me say it differently. You need a map. You need a destination that you can compare with your starting point. What is it that you must develop in order to be a strong, respected and credible leader in your organization? What does that person look like? What are your strengths? What do you need to continue to do? What do you need to stop doing? What are your gaps? Areas of growth opportunity? All of this can be included in your blueprint.

Last week, I introduced a series I will be writing called “Under Construction”. For some reason, that phrase has provoked much thought on why we don’t accomplish what we think we should accomplish. Why aren’t we always successful as leaders? What gets in the way of success? Sometimes we fall short of the finished line and we beat ourselves up for not getting the promotion. We beat ourselves up for getting a demotion or we lose a good opportunity – we get fired. How does that happen to someone that came in with guns blazing? No plan for success. No plan to grow. No plan for succession. No plan for our people. No plan… you finish the sentence.

Ultimately our blueprint for life and leadership comes down to us making a commitment “to write the vision and make it plain that men might run with it.” I will write more on this topic as I continue to develop this series on “Under Construction“. Remember to “Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are like children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.” – Napolean Hill

 

Under Construction

Under ConstructionUnder construction signs magnify to the world around them to be cautious because there is work being done – dangerous work. The phrase “Under Construction” is the time period that exists after a building’s construction starts through the time before a certificate of occupancy is granted. There are potential dangers around a construction site. From heavy and small equipment, that most people don’t know how to operate. To holes, and wood, hammers and nails. There is a lot of things going on around a construction site. Kinda like our lives. There is much going in us and around us. As leaders we have a responsibility for the safety of others – people who are “Under Construction.”

As I drove past a construction site early this morning I saw the connection between a construction site for building a new building and the construction site in the lives of people – leaders and the people we lead. We are all “Under Construction!” Can you see the analogy? Each of us, even the leader is “Under Construction.” Or at least we should be. None of us are a finished work, though we live as though we are. Not so! It can take a small crew or even a large crew of men and women to handle the arduos job of building a building. Beginning with clearing the land so that the work can begin, the actual laying of the foundation, to constructing the frame and hanging sheet rock, to the wiring of the building and setting in windows, laying carpet, getting a roof on and walking through all of the various inspections through to occupancy. Who are you allowing to touch the soil of your life and build?

I want to begin a series of post on the importance of growth and growing. On allowing others to help construct us and shape us into all that we need to become.

Like buildings, there is a purpose for our lives. As a leader, you must grow-up. You must allow others to use their expertise, much like a construction site employs various professionals to oversee and complete specific work, so that the building will pass inspection and we are able to occupy it. In my series, we as individuals will represent the building. We are the final product. As far as I know, I don’t believe a building has ever constructed itself without the help of lots of hands, a community. Yes, I am from the generation that still believes it takes a community to raise children. I also believe that behind every great leader are mentors and teachers and coaches and family members that represent the community that shape us into who we are. We have lost site of that, but maybe I will find a way to speak to that in this series of post. Here are some thoughts to consider as I begin to develop my post over the next several weeks:

1. We ALL need a strong foundation. Without it the building will falter and maybe even collapse.

2. We ALL need mentors, master crafts men and women to help shape us.

3. We ALL have an original blueprint and it is important to ensure we understand the design…

4. We ALL need to be healthy – internally and externally.

5. We ALL need to be inspected…really? Really!

6. We ALL have value – whose life are you adding value to as a leader?

7. We ALL influence, either for good or for not so good!

And there is more. These are some thoughts I have as I develop the idea that we are “Under Construction.” Be open to the possibility that I may be missing something. I look forward to your contribution! Feel free to share your ideas about my analogy. Or if you get it and you know there is an area you would like me to cover as I construct these posts, please share it in the comments. I am off to get my hands dirty shaping the lives I get to shape. More next week!