Week One - PurposeThe Cheshire Cat said it best, “If you don’t know whereyou’re going, any road will get you there.”True leaders have a well-defined sense of purpose,both in terms of where they are going and in that theyfind their work personally meaningful.Week One is all about defining where you want to goand why doing so will matter to you deeply.!Fact: In his study of exceptional people in “Outliers”, MalcolmGladwell found that high-achievers consistently consideredtheir work personally meaningful. In fact, this sense of purposewas what allowed them to spend the long hours necessary tobe the best at their craft.!Quote: “People who find their lives meaningful usuallyhave a goal that is challenging enough to take up allof their energies, a goal that can give significanceto their lives.”- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Day One - My To-Do ListMake a list of all of your long-term goals; everything onyour big picture To Do List. Since this is a leadershipchallenge, be sure only to include goals that will requirethe support, participation or buy-in of others.
Day Two - My MissionCreate a personal mission statement by answering thequestion, “Why Do I Exist?” Once you have answeredthat question, create a mission statement of less thaneight words and commit it to memory. In addition, keepa written version of the statement in a place where youwill see it frequently.
Day Three - My VisionCreate a personal vision statement of less than tenwords by filling in the sentence, “Before I die I will...”or “I hope someday to be thought of as...”Consider who you want to be and what you want toaccomplish, either personally or professionally, andcommit this to memory. Additionally, put your visionstatement in writing and display it in a place ofprominence.
Day Four - My ValuesMake a list of your personal values; the things thatyou hold so true that you would never violate themfor personal gain or expediency. Once you havecreated the list, choose the 3 to 6 values you findmost enduring. Write them down alongside yourpersonal mission and vision statements and committhem to memory.
Day Five - My GoalsReview your list of goals from Day One alongside yourpersonal statements of Mission, Vision, and Values.Choose the goal that you feel best embodies yourpersonal statements, but don’t worry about the onesyou did not choose. There will be ample time to reachall of your goals if you focus and stay true to theRevolYOUtion methodology. Once you have chosenyour goal, make sure that it is S.M.A.R.T. – specific,measurable, aligned, realistic, and timely.You will learn more about S.M.A.R.T. goals duringtomorrow’s challenge.
Day Six - Is My Goal S.M.A.R.T.? Specific A vague goal would be: “I will be a good leader.”A specific goal might be: “I will improve my leadership skills by developing my emotional intelligence.” MeasurableAre there specific metrics in place to let you know that you’ve crossed the finish line? AlignedIs the goal you have chosen personally meaningful to you? RealisticAre you capable of succeeding at your chosen goal? Timely The goal should exist within a time frame – 30 days in this case.
Week Two - PeopleLeadership is most succinctly defined as “the ability toinfluencea group of people to work toward a commongoal.” Leadership is fundamentally relational, and whilesomeone with poor people skills may be exceptional,they cannot accurately be called a leader. In Week One,you determined where you are going.Week Two will focus on strengthening your ability todevelop the relationships that will get you there. Fact: Emotional intelligence, or the ability to identify and control emotions in yourself and others, was found to be twice as predictive of exceptional performance as technical expertise in a Harvard Study. Quote: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
Day Seven - Self-AwarenessMake a list of five adjectives that describe yourgreatest strengths and five for your most significantdevelopmental opportunities. Now, ask your friendsto complete the same exercise on your behalf.Adjectives that your friends selected that you didnot may be personal “blind spots” that can inhibityour ability to lead. Now that you are aware of theseblind spots, what can you do to ensure they do notdiminish your potential?
Day Eight - Active ListeningPractice your active listening skills today by freeingyourself of distractions and focusing deeply on whatis being said. Ensure that your phone and computermonitor are off and that you are free of whatevertechnology might distract you from full engagement.As you listen, focus deeply on what is being said, andresist the urge to formulate a counter-argument orresponse as the person communicating is still speaking.As the day progresses, notice the depth of engagementtoday as you actively listen versus times when you aredistracted by technology or the noise in your own head.
Day Nine - Reading OthersTake at least 30 minutes today to “people watch” in apark, mall, or airport. Notice the people around you;their mannerisms, their dress, their body language, andtheir tone. Now make hypotheses based on what youhave observed. What motivates them? How might youeffectively communicate with them? What are theirfearsand dreams? As you learn to thoughtfully observeothers and tailor your interpersonal approach to meettheir unique needs, you will find yourself with increasedinfluence as a leader.
Day Ten - EmpathyThink of someone with whom you share an opposingviewpoint. Approach that person and express aninterest in deepening your understanding of wherethey are coming from. Ask them to express their reasonsfor espousing this viewpoint and use follow up questionsto deepen your understanding. At no point should youshare your own views or seek to convince them to yourway of thinking. Do all that is in your power to understandwithout needing to be understood. The challenge iscomplete when you have experienced empathy fortheir viewpoint and can understand how they havearrived at their worldview (without necessarily needingto agree).
Day Eleven - Make it PersonalTake the ten people with whom you work most closelyand write each of their names on the top of an indexcard. Beneath their name, write the name of theirspouse or partner, the names of any children, as wellas a list of any personal hobbies or interests of theirs.Review these cards regularly, and make a point toinquire about personal interests and loved ones fromtime to time. Taking a personal interest in those withwhom you work will boost morale and increase teamcohesion.
Day Twelve - Thank YouTrue leaders understand that, whatever their talentsmay be, they cannot do it alone. Take time today tothank those who have helped you along the way.Make a list of the ten people that have been mostcentral to your success thus far and write each ofthem a hand-written (no emails!) thank you letter.Don’t forget to be specific and cite actual instancesin which they have been a support.
Week Three - ProficiencyYou have now charted your course and begun to rallythe troops in support of your mission. Week Three willfocus on developing proficiency or skill in your areaof focus. Communication can be powerful, butexceptional people “walk the talk” and let theirexpertise inspire others to follow their lead. Take thisweek to hone your craft, understanding that nothingis as influential as the example of a skilled craftsperson. Fact: 42% of college graduates never read another book post-graduation. Quote: “Force has no place where there is need of skill.” - Herodotus
Day Thirteen - Be CuriousSkilled leaders are intellectually curious and alwaysalert to opportunities. Reflect back on your chosengoal from Week One and seek out a variety of sourcesto deepen your knowledge in this content area. Findone blog post, one academic journal article, oneaudio lecture, as well as a video presentation that willenhance your understanding. Now, choose your favoriteof the four and share it with others with similar interests.Congratulations! You have just taken the first step towardthought leadership!
Day Fourteen - Choose a MentorThe word mentor literally means “wise advisor” and istaken from Homer’s Odyssey where the characterMentor served as a trusted friend to the story’sprotagonist. By the end of the day, select a mentorwho is wise in your chosen area of focus. Whenapproaching your mentor, please list specific reasonswhy you chose them and why you feel as though youcould benefit from their experience and wisdom.Schedule mentorship meetings at least once a quarter– you’ll be amazed at how much you will grow!
Day Fifteen - Reward YourselfPeople who excel at self-development and skillacquisition are able to do so because they makethe process enjoyable. At the halfway point of theleadership challenge, cultivate this enjoyment of theprocess by rewarding yourself today. The only rule isthat this reward must be something out of the ordinaryand qualify as a special treat.
Day Sixteen - PrioritizeMake your to-do list for the day (as I hope you’redoing every day). Now break your daily tasks outinto three categories – Essential, Important, andNon-Essential – as they pertain to the goal you chosein Week One. Practice doing essential things first,rather than prioritizing in terms of ease or immediacy.Getting in the habit of aligning work with larger goalswill keep you from always “putting out fires.”
Day Seventeen - PracticeMalcolm Gladwell’s examination of outliers taughtus that roughly 10,000 hours of practice are neededto achieve virtuoso status at a given skill. Take ninetyminutes today to practice and develop the skillsnecessary to reach the goal you chose in Week One.Given that you’re likely a very busy person, this mayrequire you to wake up a little earlier or stay up a littlelater. No guts no glory!
Day Eighteen - Teach OthersOnce you have mastered a skill it only makes sensethat you would share that knowledge with others. Todo so, contact a local school, library, civic orprofessional organization and offer to share yourexpertise in a formal setting, free of charge. Teachingalways unearths gaps in your own understanding andallows you to see the problem in a new light throughthe eyes of your pupils.
Week Four - PersuasionWhether they are getting buy-in around an idea, sellinga product or service, or trying to move the organizationin the direction of a new goal, leaders are frequentlycalled on to be persuasive. Luckily, there is a great dealof research on what people find influential, with muchof the best science coming from the lab of Dr. RobertCialdini. Week four will revolve around Cialidini’s“Six Weapons of Influence”, the six factors consistentlyfound to undergird successful persuasive efforts. Fact: We are more likely to be persuaded by people who admit to having made mistakes. It seems as though we have an intuitive sense that no one is perfect and that we trust others who cop to having made mistakes in the past. People tend to operate under the assumption that, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Quote: “Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Day Nineteen - ReciprocationIt is a simple truth that kindness begets kindness. Theroad to influence is lined with acts of selfless serviceand while service should not be done for this reason,it is a truth about humans that we tend to want to repayfavors. Take a moment today to perform a charitableact, be it buying lunch, paying a compliment, or simplysharing an article that reminds you of that person.
Day Twenty - CommitmentWhen someone makes even a small commitment, theyare prone to continue to act in ways that are consistentwith that commitment. Take the large goal you chosein Week One, and divide it into a series of small goalsthat are steps along the way. Now, commit at leastone of your co-workers to assist you in achieving oneof these small goals and thank them for their commitmentto helping you achieve this larger goal. While peoplemay be loathe to bite off the whole vision, committingthem to smaller goals can help motivate them throughsmall wins and a desire to finish what they have started.
Day Twenty One - Social ProofLet’s face it, humans are herd animals and areinfluenced by what others are doing. Determinea person whose behavior you would like to influenceen route to meeting your goal. Now create a narrativewhere a person similar to the person you are trying toinfluence engaged in a behavior like the one you aretrying to influence, with positive results. Share this storyas a means to motivate them and help them understandhow taking the same steps might result in similar rewards.
Day Twenty Two - LikingChoose three people that, if you could positivelyinfluence them, would greatly impact your efficacyas a leader. Write down each of their names andunderneath write a list of at least five things you sharein common with that individual. You might share values,a political worldview, a commitment to volunteerism,or even an affinity for the same sports team. Once youhave populated this list, be sure to weave these sharedinterests into future conversations. A large body ofresearch shows that we do business with people thatwe like, and that we like people who are a lot like us!
Day Twenty Three - Authority9 out of 10 doctors agree that people are influencedby appeals to authority. Rather than tout your ownexpertise, which can be off-putting, take today tobuild up someone with whom you work. One way todo this would be to introduce them to someone inyour own network that they might benefit from meeting.When making the introduction, take a moment to bragon some of their accomplishments and areas of deepexpertise. Remember, what goes around comes aroundand you’re likely to receive similar treatment at somepoint down the road.
Day Twenty Four - ScarcityWhy are diamonds so valuable? The confluence ofevents that must occur to produce a diamond makeit exceedingly rare, which drives up the price. Considerwhatever it is that you are hoping to influence. Whatmakes what you are trying to do special? Why is itunique? What does your approach offer that no oneelse can lay claim to? If you can convince others thatthey are face-to-face with a scarce opportunity, youwill be well on your way to persuading them to act inthe desired manner.
Week Five - PerserveranceAll too often, talented people fail to meet their goalsbecause they have not yet learned to endure to theend. Real leaders persevere against all odds anddevelop the stamina necessary to see their projectsthrough to completion. Indeed, a leader’s ability topersevere sets the ceiling on his or her own development.As you approach the final six days of the Revolyoutionchallenge, take care to internalize the lessons ofperseverance and finish strong! Fact: Surveys suggest that a scant 8% of Americans achieve their New Years Resolutions. Quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle
Day Twenty Five - DelegatingPeople who make it to the top do so with a greatdeal of help from those around them. What is onething that you are hanging on to at work that wouldbe more appropriately delegated to someone else?Find that one task and make the handoff, rememberingto delegate in terms of aligning work tasks with personalstrengths rather than getting rid of less preferredresponsibilities. Real delegation is about giving peopletasks at which they will excel, not the old “poop rollsdownhill mentality.”
Day Twenty Six - Enjoy the JourneyMost things worth doing take both time and effort.Given that this is the case, learning to enjoy the journeyis an excellent way to ensure focused effort over time.Take one minute out of every waking hour today tobe mindful of how good life is. During this one-minutetime out, take a deep breath and reflect on somethingpositive in your life.
Day Twenty Seven - Practice PatienceAll too often, we switch gears or lose focus in ourbusiness or personal lives, just as we are about toachieve breakthrough success. Review your to-do listfor the day and identify the potential triggers thatmight cause you to lose patience in the next 24 hours.Having recognized these sticking points up front,make patience your goal during each of theseencounters. At the close of the day, rate your level ofpatience from 1 to 10 for each of the identified triggers.You might just be surprised how patience can beimproved simply by anticipating the lack thereof.
Day Twenty Eight - SimplifyGifted leaders cultivate laser focus by continuallyreexamining and decluttering their lives. Consideryour own life – what is one thing you are hanging onto that is weighing you down? Is it a past, toxicrelationship? Is it a faulty, negative belief about yourself?Is it credit card debt? Whatever is holding you back,take action today to unencumber yourself on the wayto reaching your true potential.
Day Twenty Nine - Visualize SuccessEveryone knows that star athletes visualize success,but this skill is just as applicable to those of us workingto improve our leadership performance. Close youreyes and imagine that you have now reached thegoal you determined to work on in Week One. Howdo you feel? In what ways has your life improved?How are you better positioned to respond to futurechallenges? As you begin to imagine success, youwill become re-energized and find the strength youneed to continually move in the direction of your dreams.
Day Thirty - Celebrate!Celebrating success is a vastly underutilized and poorlyunderstood leadership principle. It is a simple truththat people persist in doing things that they findpleasurable and personally rewarding. Leaders whopush for results without pausing to celebrate successwill find themselves fatigued and incapable of sustainingtheir performance over the long haul. You have workedhard for one month to improve your life and the livesof those you lead, so celebrate! Take time to recognizehow far you’ve come and how much you’ve learned,and celebrate accordingly. Doing so will increase yourdesire, and that of your team, to tackle whateverchallenges will come next.