Excerpt from my session at the Most Powerful Women in Healthcare IT Conference, May 12, 2016 in Boston.
I was fortunate to be coached by a pioneer in the industry, Laura Berman Fortgang, and one of my favorite lines of hers is, “it is not what you do, it is who you get to be.”
Like the marketplace, leaders need to be actively changing, growing, and evolving. One way to do that is to look for opportunities to push beyond your comfort zone—When was the last time you did something new? How are you intentionally growing? Who are you intentionally being?
In my experience working with senior executives, I’ve found that evolving as a leader requires constantly pushing your own boundaries. People already perceive you as successful. It is up to you find your next edge.
Think about something you did at work recently that made you really proud. Did you finish a major project? Did you receive public recognition?
Next, think about something you did that took you out of your comfort zone, but you faced head on. It might be a conflict or difficult interaction—maybe something that no one else knew felt like a stretch for you, except you.
For both scenarios, what did you learn about yourself in the process? How did you show up? How did others experience you? How will that success shape your future thinking and actions?
Do you ask yourself these types of questions with some frequency? What is your process or mechanism for taking stock?
Questions like these can be good for you to reflect on—and they also provide the answers to potential interview questions. The more you can articulate what you care about and how you operate, the more you’ll be able to lead with intention – and the better you’ll be able to educate others about who you are, and what you bring.
A CSO I worked with would spend 15 minutes before an important meeting visualizing what he wanted to say and how he wanted to feel in the meeting. This is body, mind, and spirit alignment in action. He would then take time immediately after the meeting to write down his thoughts on what he was pleased about, and what he wanted to do differently next time.
I often find that people know who they were—when they entered the workforce, joined their company, or transitioned into their last big role, but since then, they have been head-down—doing what needs to be done.
Most executive coaching engagements begin with an assessment process for good reason. It is important to understand skills, interests, drivers, motivators, and values, based on where you are today. You have changed since you took your last role–and your company and your industry have too.
Big jobs take a lot of time and personal energy and what often suffers is time for reflection and opportunities to re-calibrate, whether it is after the last major implementation, or the most recent acquisition.
What is one step you can take to move in the direction of your edge?