How to Lead the Final Forty Days

Have you noticed how the last 10% of something can feel so much harder than the previous 90?

The last 500 metres of your 5km run… the action items from your meeting… the latest computer software update on your laptop… (really? Again?!)

It’s with the final 10% that we feel often the most fragile.

And here we are, in the last 10% of 2022, and I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling it!

And yet we know it’s not the finish line… there’s still important work to be done that will help set 2023 up for success.

So what can we do?
How can we in some way ‘be better’ coming out of this last 10% of 2022 than we were coming into it?

Here are three ideas inspired by the work of Mary Parker Follett (the ‘Grandmother’ of management consulting) that I reckon can help us lead our way ‘better’ through these last forty days…

Give Power Away

Consider the distribution of group power over your personal power… how can you create power for the group rather than keeping it for yourself?

When we do this – when we partner as leaders – we harness the leadership capacity of all of our people all of the time …  whether that’s as we succeed together and share the excitement of our triumphs …  as we face the reality of challenges and the responsibility of failures… and in the final 10% of the year, as we power together to do the work that needs to be done, even when it feels we have nothing more to give.

Don’t Lead, With

Encourage collaboration among all levels…  how can you practice ‘co-active power’ rather than power over your team?

Because when we do this – when we With rather than lead – we allow each member of our team to feel just as valued as the next, and we focus the collective energy on the challenges and opportunities in the situation we are facing together, rather than dividing, conquering or controlling each other.

Be Clear, Clean and Kind

Hold clear, clean, compassionate conversations about differences, interests, desires, needs and conflicts… how can you create a safe enough space for the rich diversity of your people to emerge?

When we’re in the last 10%, it’s even more important that we do this as leaders, because this is how we find solutions we can action together, it’s how we remove unnecessary personal drama and it’s how we create contexts and cultures of psychosocial safety and thriving.

The thing is, when we have these three things in place we are more antifragile, we can’t help but be, because all of these things show that what we’ve been told good leadership looks like simply isn’t.

That leadership is broken.

And more importantly, they point to a way out, a way forward … whether it’s the last 10% or the first 90.

Until next time…

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