The Next Step – Stepping Out or Stepping Off
Most talk; few act. Rooms go silent when someone asks, “What’s next?” Dreaming, thinking, and talking aren’t doing.
Leaders do; dreamers talk.
- Feels like doing even when nothing’s done.
- Feeds weak egos and small minds.
- Slows progress.
- Creates imagined problems that waste time, drain energy, and distract focus.
Nothing happens till you take the first step.
Before stepping out:
Go deep before stepping out.
Ask, “How does this step express our values?” Are you following popular trends or embracing behaviors that matter to you. Fads fade because they’re shallow.
- Test. Never put all your eggs in untested baskets.
- Evaluate passion. Do first steps energize and fuel momentum?
- Establish connections.
- Develop teams.
- Affirm strengths.
- Build trust.
- Learn as you go.
- Enhance skills.
- Build confidence.
- Step to the cliff. Small steps always lead to giant cliffs – decision points.
Bonus: Stepping out prepares for stepping off.
Great endeavor always encounter resistance.
- Intensify focus. Failure matters.
- Trust your strengths. Cliffs always test. Safe steps never bring out your best.
- Leverage relationships built during the “small step” phase.
- Go first. “Follow me,” gets real, now.
Bonus: Know your strengths before arriving at stepping-off moments.
Power of skin:
Get skin in the game or get out! Real leaders have most to lose. Fake leaders posture and protect. Never let others take risks you should take.
Leaders who protect themselves create environments where others protect themselves.
- Boldness stop.
- Innovation ends.
- Death begins, slowly.
The path to great achievement always leads to stepping-off moments. Prepare don’t run away.
How do you move from talking to doing?
What prepares individuals or teams for stepping off moments?
Great post Dan! As I read “death begins, slowly”, I thought to myself,
Death begins precisely after birth,or life! Your life starts when you choose it to”! So you, reading this you living right now or dying?
As I read what you wrote about what leaders do it brought up in me one word….delegate. Leaders don’t really do much of anything, they ask others to do things. Their ability to accomplish that determines if they are effective or not. Thoughts, feelings ect ect ect???
Leadership is accomplished from the neck up, work done from the neck down.
Two quotes from the peanut gallery….Albert Einstein is in this peanut gallery and it is some gallery let me tell ya!
1. “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”.
Leaders have to think, non-negotiable, then decide, then delegate, then think some more.
2. “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits”!
This second quote is probably off topic but when I read it I got a good belly laugh. That is one of the things Jimmy V. said I ought to do every day. Mission accomplished.
You help me everyday Dan to stir my mind to think.
Thanks for your comment Scott.
It’s odd to think leaders don’t “do” much of anything. I want to bring up model the way which includes doing…. perhaps it’s symbolic?
I think I get your point… leaders get others to do.
I can handle rambling comments… 🙂 Thanks again
To prepare teams and individuals alike Dan, I think you have already summed it up. By giving people opportunities to learn new things and build on their skills, by giving them increasing authority and responbility, by putting more of their own skin in the game, they are better prepared when its time for bigger moves.
As leaders, we have to learn to withdraw little by little; stop our micro-management and let people learn by doing.
They have opportunity to develop skill, trust and confidence. And with confidence we can all step off the cliff and know that we will probably soar.
In a way, preparing individuals for stepping off means get them doing things before they’re ready to do things. We prepare people by helping them act before they are prepared.
There is always a gem that jumps out at me in each of your posts and today it was “Leaders who protect themselves create environments where others protect themselves”. It brought to mind a rather nasty trait some managers have to blame failure on their team but accept full credit for successes. Leaders who put themselves out there, sharing both risk and reward with their team, have teams that are more willing to follow them off the cliff.
Preparing to step off? Know thyself.
You say this.
How to know thyself? Try things. Small first. Involve others. Learn from them to learn new things and about yourself.
Forgive yourself for mistakes and try some more. Celebrate success by making the next step bigger. Cliffs will eventually reveal steps.
Thanks for a great post at the right time.
Great Advice! I really enjoy your posts.Thanks
The room also goes silent when someone asks “who is going to be responsible for doing the next step when it needs to be done.