Saturday, May 14, 2011

Heads Up!

One of the things I've been exploring on the business side is this idea of "heads up" vs. "heads down" focus.  Particularly when things are in fast growth mode, it can get easy to just put our heads down and work our tailfeathers off.

Operationalize and get it done.  Process flows, to do lists, delegation, resources, project workbooks, change management, deadlines, fire fighting, assuming great people and wins will continue to flourish.

Over time, we can forget that what got everyone off the mat in the first place was vision.  Conceptualizing, goal-setting, motivating, dreaming, longer term planning, sky's the limit thinking, getting fired up, truly appreciating every ounce of contribution and every success, no matter how small.

Fast growth is not enough.  In fact, it has been the death knell of more than one organization.

As I think about all the truly great businesses I have seen, read about and worked with (including my current) - it's been their ability to balance an energized heads up culture with incredible heads down execution, bringing them rapid and sustainable success.

Okay, so what does this have to do with you and me on a personal level?

Stuff like this is why I conceptualized "Personal Strategic Management" in the first place:  Our lives are like these businesses. 

When life is nothing but a daily grind (aka: SSDD), we simply cannot grow to our full personal potential.

Don't kid yourself; having energy is not the same as having a zest for life.  Running around like crazy people, shifting back and forth between "routine" and "crisis", worrying about who or what needs to be where, putting everyone's needs before our own or even worse, thinking of things like exercise and healthy eating as the real drudgery and sacrifice.  

Heads down living spins us into a cycle of procrastinating our goals to such an extent that we don't even know what our dreams are anymore.

In order to achieve healthy longevity, true happiness and sustainable prosperity we need to have vision in our lives.

Dream, set goals, visualize, plan, build, unreservedly give to others and ourselves, move with pleasure, eat with mindfulness, get fired up, believe in unlimited abundance, bask in gratitude.

If anything, this balance is more important personally than it is professionally.  Think about it.  Our individual lives are a limited, one-shot deal.  Companies often survive many human lifetimes.

I am on a mission to keep the balance between "heads down" surviving and "heads up" thriving. Will you join me?

Carpe diem!

Photo note:  I shot this picture myself when a hot air balloon flew directly over my house.  (It has made several repeat visits since!)

Book credit:  Although I've heard the concept of "heads up" and "heads down" business strategy a few times over the years, this latest inspiration is thanks to a great book by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller called, The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do. 
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