Personal effectiveness lies right at the very heart of the inner circle of inside-out leadership.  In the ‘Lead Like Mary’ book I state on page 27 that Mary is personally highly effective.  If I was writing the book today I would change that to:

‘Mary strives to be personally highly effective.’

Why?  Because no-one, definitely not Mary, can always be personally highly effective.  With all the challenges we face in the work place and in the modern world it’s just not realistic.  What we can all do is to strive every day to be as personally effective as possible.

In the podcast I introduce you to Stephen Covey’s ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, the best selling management book of all time, first published in 1989.  I hope the podcast left you wanting to know more.  If so you can choose to buy the book.  But, as I suggested last time, there are many other routes.  ‘Google’ the Seven Habits or any individual habit and you will find a wealth of resources, including summary articles, audios, videos, models and frameworks.

In “Lead Like Mary’ I break down the principles which underpin each of Covey’s habits and distill them into what I believe is a focused and relevant summary of his work.  You can find these principles in chapter 5.They are as follows:

  • Mary models the behaviours she wants to see in others
  • Mary tries to keep an open mind and challenge beliefs- hers and others
  • Mary understands she can always make choices and strives to make the right choices.
  • Mary sets clear goals, at every level
  • Mary manages her time as effectively as she can, focusing on what is truly important
  • Mary constantly acts to re-energise herself

Take time out on a regular basis to review how you are doing against these principles.  Practice your self-awareness and take feedback from others.  This reflection time, at least weekly, is essential if we are to learn, develop and grow.

Both the podcast and the book focus on the opportunity to develop a ‘life plan’, beginning with the end in mind by creating a picture of where you want to be at a point in the future- in this case a big birthday of yours that ends in a zero, but not the next one, the one ten years after that.
I appreciate there are differing views on doing this, it scares some people, they feel it has no relevance, life is about having adventures and seeing where it takes you.  We also do not want too firm a plan or we risk missing opportunities. I appreciate all of that, a plan should never be too firm or we will miss opportunities along the way, but if a broad plan exists I am convinced it enables us to focus on moving in the right direction.

You can find the life planning self-guided exercise on pages 53-55 of ‘Lead Like Mary.’ and a copy in this week’s page on the Becoming A Conservation Leader site.


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