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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Tammy said...

Yup. I will join you. But It would be nice to figure out waht I want to do in my life. LOL For now I will just have to work on having a zest for whatever presents itself. Hard to do unless it's zesty. lol :)

Charlene said...

Tammy - Love zesty!! I think that's sort of the point. We don't "stop" long enough to do the real introspection and/or work which is sometimes needed to really discover our life's purpose. We don't travel the world just for fun or go on retreats or take long quiet walks by ourselves or experiment with education. Those are all "heads up" activities. Too often we let our lives become "not about us." That sounds weird to say since ya know it's OUR life, but true right?

Alison said...

Great post! It's so true although I hadn't seen it in quite the way you described it so thank you for that great insight.

As an introvert, I crave my reflective time and get to be quite horrible if I don't get it. Life drives me when we have a crisis. And then there's the thriving/achieving bit in between.

Now that the kids are a bit older, it is so wonderful to have some heads up time. For so many years it was heads down, down, down. Life is good right now!

Adriana Iris said...

count me in ;)

cajunlicious said...

Hi! Following you from the Finding
New Friends blog hop! Hope you visit
my Cajun blog and return the follow!
-Jessica @

timethief said...

Count me in too. :)

nothingprofound said...

I agree completely. As the old poet put it:

"What is this life, if full of care, We have no time to stand and stare."

It's when we're standing and staring that all the bright ideas come to us.

Jessica said...

Thanks for visiting Jessica, The Mom! Following back.

Anonymous said...

"stop and smell the roses" your words reflect those sentiment....lets all heed your words and think really hard about what you said.....thanks

Lucy said...

I have created a vision board for my life, which I try to look at every day. I suppose this is how I have my "head up." And I keep my "head down" by making frequent to do lists, keeping a weekly calendar, etc. I love the way you explain these concepts. Glad I found your blog, you're very inspirational!

Sarah said...

Good luck with me on this one. A month of renovation, move to a new place, still can't find anything and living with a negative person are wearing me very thin. On the other hand, I can't afford not to follow you on this quest, right?

Jewel said...

I agree with what you are saying here, and will be following your blog. Have tried to comment on your post below, but Google would not put my comment on - hopefully it will this one.

Visiting from no rules blog hop.

Pat Brill said...


You expressed it perfectly: having energy is not the same as having a zest for life. We all have energy and the question is what we do with it.

I can relate to the extreme busyness and manage to do a lot during my normal day. Yet it isn't necessarily all zestful.

I love that's full of life and possibilities.

Thanks for sharing your words.


Paula Renaye said...

Hi, Charlene!
You stopped by my site to say hello and I wanted to see what you were up to. A lot of things, I see!

Now that my kids are grown and I'm single, you'd think that balance would be easy. Well, in some ways it is, but I find myself all too often in front of this computer meeting another self-imposed deadline instead of going to bed. So, this is my last post for tonight. You've inspired me!

Nice to meet you!

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