It’s been a full year. I knew it would be when I agreed to be marketing chair for the Miller theater at the same time I was slated to be board chair for Leadership Augusta, at the same time the dealership was embarking on our “World Class” campaign. As with all ventures, I will walk away smarter for my experience- I know how to take the knocks on my head and learn from them. The year taught me a lot about leadership, and even more about myself. Here are some of the take-aways from my year as LA board chair, written in advice form to myself, as if I could travel back in time.
1. Expect the unexpected. You will get some curveballs you did not see coming. Before you load up your own plate with all of your grand ambitions, go ahead and save a pocket full of time and energy for some unplanned drama.
2. It’s not all about you. Don’t forget that this year is also designed to help your vice-chair get a feel for the job, so make sure you include him in all of the activity. You will be glad when you can pass the gavel to someone who is as ready and excited to receive it as you once were.
3. Balance is your favorite word. Besides all of the work, be sure to get some rest, take good care of your health and keep up with the fitness. You will need your body to be strong.
4. Focus on what matters. You have a lot you want to accomplish, more than is possible. Look hard at your list of goals and pick the ones that are sustainable and will make a difference after you are gone. Let the others go.
5. Be prepared to have some honest conversations when you know in your gut that the train is de-railing. Someone you trust to do a good job will not live up to their promise of excellence, (or they define excellence differently), so be prepared to step in and keep the train on course.
6. There will be times when people delight you with how well they do their job. Savor it, celebrate it, and thank them well.
7. Don’t try to be anything other than the leader you are. Be gentle with yourself.
8. There will be people who will make your job much easier, and a couple that make it it significantly harder. Spend more time thinking about the former and give less consideration to the latter.
9. Set aside a designated time each week for your planning and assessment. Scheduling that time in advance will help keep you on track.
10. Enjoy the year and have some fun. Relish the small happy moments and know that in the end, it is going to work out just fine.