Learning to Leverage

LEARNING TO LEVERAGE

I’ve been working for the past few weeks on a presentation around “Leverage in your Leadership”. While reading some great books and articles, I found some really good tips to share with leaders about how to leverage our leadership into greater impact.

However, as I was researching and preparing, I realize that it’s one thing to “leverage your leadership”, and it’s another thing to “learn how to leverage your leadership”.

Here are a couple of things I think all of us can do that will help us find greater leverage:

#1) BE INTENTIONAL

Leverage doesn’t just happen. We have to work at it. We have to dream about it. We have to set some goals around it. We have to plan for it.  The reality is that most of us don’t have the margin of time needed to be more intentional. We’re running as hard as we can, and we are dropping some of the spinning plates as we try to keep things moving.  We will never be able to get the full impact of leverage unless we are more intentional. For the past few weeks we’ve talked about time and distractions. What’s keeping you from being intentional?

#2) BE SPECIFIC

Leverage is good. But what does that really mean? We need to quantify leverage by defining what it really looks like. Often we set goals or think about greater strategy without ever clarifying what this might look like. Recently I read a great book entitled, “Social Impacts” (©2014 by Marc J. Epstein & Kristi Yuthas). The book challenged me to really think about the metrics around what I’m trying to do.

An example might be:  “I want to host a leadership coaching event for 15 leaders, helping them learn, grow and apply some leadership principles.”

A more specific way to say this might be:  “I want to host a leadership coaching event for 15 leaders, helping them learn, grow and apply some leadership principles into their organizations, and seeing each leader share the principles learned with 2 leaders inside their organization within 15 days of the event”.

This is something that can be measured and immediately there’s a higher value placed on the activity.

#3) BE CREATIVE

Leverage isn’t just about “more people, more impact”. Think of ways to increase leverage that might require some different creative energy.

From the example above:  “While teaching leadership principles to a group of leaders, I want to provide them with some tools to use not only in their organizations, but personally with their families. I want their families to be strengthened while they become better leaders.”

Sometimes we get excited when things happen that we didn’t expect. I want to encourage you to think outside the box about what can be leveraged, what can be impacted. Don’t settle for the easy multiplication model of 1 X 3 = Greater Impact!  Be creative in the process.

Leverage can be defined as:  “The power to influence a person or situation to achieve a particular outcome”

We all need to learn how to do this better!

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