Reflection is a part of everyday growth, but a particular focus when the New Year comes along. I am no exception -- only this year, I felt something just a little different. My Type A personality thrives on organization, details, and planning-it’s just what I do! So, most of my New Year reflection is focused on how I can be the most efficient version of me and meet (more like exceed) my goals. What can I say, I’m competitive. And, as any controlling, over-achiever would tell you, fear and anxiety somehow always rear their nasty head in the mix. Though, I am firm believer that fear is healthy, so I’m okay with it to some degree. This year however was different. This year I felt something that I haven’t felt in a while…ANTICIPATION!
Rainbows and Unicorns
We hosted our Investor Board meeting for Next Wave Connect on January 3rd; a perfect way to kick off the New Year. Like any Board, we talked about lessons learned over the last year, our strategies for success in 2018, how we could continue to grow and build lasting relationships with partners, and what the potential future could look like. I like to call that slide “rainbows and unicorns” because that slide is your opportunity to give your leadership a glimpse into your dream. What “could” this company look like if everything worked out perfectly and exactly how you planned? While it’s exciting to share that dream, it’s also a bit nerve-wracking. What if your dreams don’t align with their vision? What if your dream isn’t big enough? Do they see the potential? Notice how that fear I mentioned earlier was rearing its ugly head again.
In my opinion, the meeting went great! While we are still working through all the logistics and potential revenue opportunities involved in new application launches, which will help us get better line of sight into projections and forecasting, the Board felt optimistic about our growth and future. What a relief! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am for 2018. I left Dallas (site for our meeting) with more energy and enthusiasm than I left 2017 with…and that is saying something! While all of the POTENTIAL we talked about was exciting, I must admit to you that it’s a bit daunting as well. So much opportunity for growth, yet nothing (as in life) is guaranteed.
The Transition from PROVING
As I drove home, thinking about everything we had to do, wanted, needed, and could be, I realized that this year was going to be different. I had spent most of the year before focused on PROVING. From the business side, we had worked to PROVE out the model. Everything from the sales process, artifacts, objectives, deliverables, platform applications- you name it, we looked at it. For me personally, this was my first opportunity to lead as the Chief Executive Officer. I wanted to PROVE that I deserved to be here. That I could lead the organization through this transition into the future and that I had what it takes to be successful. While we still had some work to do, our Board was behind us – and me. Time to transition now into IMPROVING. No one was going to do it for us. It became evident to me that as the leader of this organization, it was time for me to take a bigger stand. This year, as I anticipate potential quick growth, I need to make a commitment to supporting my team as much as possible. So, that’s what I am doing. I have committed to listen/listen/listen, build a culture that supports innovation, and empower my team to be the best Ambassadors they can be for our Partners. My job this year is to set a vision, give the team purpose, and ensure that every single person working with or for our organization can better themselves and the industry as a whole.
Commitment To IMPROVING
To do that, I made a commitment to bettering myself as a leader. I have a poster hanging in my office that says, “Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching.” It was the perfect message to see after my drive back from our Board meeting. That’s exactly what I was going to do; focus on learning and improving so I could be the best leader possible for my team. I set a goal to read a new leadership book every month this year. I wanted to read books that focused on growth, reaching potential, and the roadblocks to look out for. To do that, I needed help. Often times, young leaders have zeal without knowledge. We get so excited about potential that we can overlook necessary details needed to ensure success. I’ve never grown a business. How am I supposed to know what to expect? The answer is simple: ASK! So, I reached out to my mentors, leaders, and people who have inspired me in various ways to ask for their personal recommendations. Their responses were nothing short of amazing. These are leaders who have built successful careers, transformed businesses and teams, all while balancing the success of their families. They have thousands of things on their plates and yet-they each took the time to answer my email request and provide a list of recommendations. Many even went on to say, “I look forward to comparing notes.” I was humbled and grateful.
My Leadership Journey…One Book At A Time
So-it’s time to stop talking (or in this case typing) and start reading. I have compiled a list of leadership books, which is featured below, based on the feedback from my personal circle of mentors. Each month, I plan to write a recap (in blog format) of the book, what I have learned, and how I am going to use that new knowledge to help Next Wave Connect achieve further success. I would love for you to join me on this journey by checking in each month and checking out my blog recap. Feel free to post messages or comments on the information presented or, if you have read the book yourself, a personal favorite takeaway. The first recap on “True North” by Bill George goes live Monday.
I am excited to see where this journey takes me, the lessons to be learned, and look forward to all that 2018 holds.