March 25, 2021

TPL Insights: Building Peak-Performance Cultures #60 – More on Transforming Yourself as a Leader

By Rob Andrews

With content from Tracy Goss’s book The Last Word on Power: Executive Re-Invention for Leaders Who Must Make the Impossible Happen

In last week’s post, we established that “The POWER that brought you to your current position of prominence and responsibility as a leader – the power that is the source of our success in the past – is now preventing you from making the impossible happen in your life and in your work. If you are an executive or manager who is charged with leading a re-invention effort, before you can re-invent your organization, institution, community, or country, you must first acquire a new kind of power: the power to consistently make the impossible happen. The absence of this power is what has made an ever-growing number of organizational re-invention efforts fail. The pathway to this new power, is to completely and intentionally ‘re-invent’ yourself: to put at risk the success you’ve become for the power of making the impossible happen.”

When I first read this, I struggled with it mightily. I’ve accomplished a number of things many considered impossible using my winning strategy. Struggle as I might, I kept reading Tracy’s book until it hit me. Your winning strategy might very well allow you to accomplish what others think impossible, but it will never enable you to accomplish what YOU think is impossible. If your winning strategy outlives its usefulness, you will probably continue to be oblivious to it. Sooner or later however, you will run up against situations where, through no fault of your own, your winning strategy won’t work. Re-inventing yourself does not mean replacing one winning strategy with another. Any winning strategy is as limiting as any other and keeps you trapped in the past. Reinventing yourself means releasing yourself from the lifelong practice of applying any formula as compensation for what’s not possible. Reinventing yourself is about changing your way of being, not your way of doing.

Freeing yourself from your winning strategy will require an open mind, reflection and directed self-examination. Only in clearly articulating your winning strategy will you be able to free yourself from it. Reinventing yourself begins with the understanding that many of your aspirations that appear impossible aren’t. It is only your current perspective and winning strategy that precludes you from achieving your wildest dreams and goals.

Tracy Goss recommends three basic questions to begin your personal inquiry, starting with:

What do I listen for? To what is your attention drawn? (This is the “listening for” component of your winning strategy formula).

From what actions do I expect power? What represents an essential solution or action, in any given situation, to produce a successful result? (This is the “so as to act by” component).

What is the desired outcome of my life? What’s most important to you in the long run? (This is the “in order to” component).

Even the most enlightened of us have a propensity to limit our personal and organizational accomplishments dramatically and artificially, because of our preconceived notions of what is and isn’t possible. I worked with one executive whose winning strategy statement was expressed as:  “I listen for opportunities to fix problems I encounter, so I can use my analytical skills to help people achieve their objectives, so I can fulfill my lifelong mission of helping others.”

While this statement sounds reasonable and noble enough, it shouldn’t take long to recognize it is extremely limiting. Once you have undergone reinvention, you will begin with a clean sheet of paper and a declaration that you will accomplish the impossible. This impossible goal of yours, which was never really impossible and only seemed so, will be so clear that it will feel to you like it’s already a reality. You’ll be able to see it, touch it, feel it, and smell it. It will literally become a part of you. The first time you realize that you really can and will accomplish the impossible, it will be the biggest rush you’ve ever experienced!

Once you’ve made your declaration, and truly begin to see the accomplishment of your goals as reality, your world will open up in a way you never thought possible. All of a sudden, you’ll listen differently, you’ll act differently, and you’ll see your purpose with great clarity and excitement. Answers to puzzles you’ve struggled with all your life will be revealed. The roadmap to your ultimate destination, previously impossible, will become clear. In short, you will have changed your way of being. Stay tuned for future posts as we continue to explore reinvention.

The purpose of all these blog posts is to share what we’re learning about building cultures of peak performance. In future posts, we’ll dig further into how leaders who have undergone reinvention are building companies that dominate their sectors. These are organizations that practice the nine principles we’ve observed in organizations that outperform their peers: Unified Leadership, Disciplined Hiring, Leading with Purpose, Stakeholder Engagement, Cost Leadership, Measuring Everything that Matters, Customer Experience, Clarity in Everything, and Staying Ahead of the Curve. If you’d like to talk about how we can help your organization, or if you’d like a thought partner, please give us a call.

Warmest Regards,

Rob Andrews
Allen Austin
Consultants in Retained Search & Leadership Advisory