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Leadership By Design.

I heard it said that some people are “born” leaders. Well, I have not seen a newborn to date that I could say, “Wow, look at that leader!” My father and mother, Samuel and Barbara Jean, demonstrated and passed on some great leadership traits. They taught me the importance of integrity, commitment, service to others, hard work, respect your leaders...these are just a few of the many traits they and other groomed and taught me. They cultivated the leadership seeds and quite frankly, also disciplined me to reinforce their standards and expectations; but that’s another blog.

My parents as leaders knew what they were leading me to. Keep this in mind as you strive to be a more likable, respectable leader: One very important aspect of “great” leadership (not good, but great) is knowing what you are trying to lead others to. It's very important to be intentional to “design” a leadership approach that reinforce the links between your leadership effectiveness, organizational goals, and positive culture change. This involves careful consideration in designing your vision, goals, values, and mission/purpose.

Begin with the End in Mind

What's your vision? Having a plan means that you know what the end result should look like. This can apply to your work environment, the culture, or what you expect from your employees. By having clear idea of what you want from the people you serve and serve with, and what you want from yourself, you put yourself in a better position to plan how to meet your goals.

Setting Goals

What exactly do you want to accomplish in 2021? What does success look like? How will you know that you reached the goal? Is the goal within your capabilities? Is it reasonably possible? Why is this goal important for you? When will you start and when is your deadline?

As an executive in the public and private sector, I’ve found that in addition to company-wide goals, each leader of a team should design specific goals for their team that complement the company’s goals. This is critical and I've witnessed many middle managers and supervisors fail because they failed to set goals. These goals can inform how you make policy and what kind of team culture you foster. If you have ever been involved in meetings or team building exercises that have seemed to be fun but ultimately pointless or a waste of time, you can understand the need to have clear goals to strive for. Then activities such as meetings, exercises, or other activities assume a greater importance. In order to be effective at setting and reaching goals, it is helpful to use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym:

• Specific. When you establish specific goals for your team rather than general goals, you are far more likely to follow through.

• Measurable. One of the reasons for making a goal specific is so you can measure what the successful completion of that goal looks like, an important aspect of beginning with the end in mind.

• Achievable. If a goal is too easy, it can also be easy to justify giving up on it because it’s not important enough. Make sure you set goals for your team that are challenging but achievable.

• Realistic. While being ambitious can help you to achieve large goals, being too ambitious can often lead to rebellion, both in your team and in yourself.

• Time-targeted. When you decide on setting a goal, you must also decide on when you expect your team to achieve that goal. You must be specific. This allows you to organize your goal-achieving behavior with a deadline.

Where do you see yourself on Dec 31, 2021? Please join me on Saturday, 19 December at noon for a Free workshop as I help you design personal or professional goals that’s right for you or your team. Register at

Determining Values

Setting goals for yourself, your team, and in some cases your company are important aspects of your designed leadership. However, on another level, these goals are actually not as big picture as you can get. To really understand how you can lead others, you must account for your own values and the company’s values as well. When you have a good grasp on what is important to you, this can clarify when to stand your ground and when to relent when you disagree with others, which is a position you will find yourself in often as a leader.

I share my values often to ensure my team understands what’s important to me; allow me to share with you. My values are summarized in my “G.A.M.E.P.L.A.N." for a victorious life:

Groom self and others for greatness!

Aligned life mission, purpose, values, and ambitions.

Manage a balanced life…embrace the day!

Excellence and integrity as a way of life.

Power of attitude is contagious.

Love and care for people.

Adversity creates opportunity…seize it.

Nurture and cherish relationship with God and people.

These values are near and dear to me and will not be compromised. But I hope you see how my personal values can align with my personal AND organization success. Since your values can change, reassessment on a regular basis can help you to determine if these values still apply. Are you are proud, happy, and fulfilled by your values? Are you comfortable identifying your core values to another person? If the answer to either of these questions is no, then you should probably reassess. Principles such as honesty, adventurousness, etc., can serve as signposts for your behavior and decisions throughout your life.

A Mission/Purpose Statement

Imagine you are somehow able to listen in at your funeral. What will everyone say about you? What would you like to be said about you? Now that you have taken the time to identify some specific goals and some core values, the next step is to write out a mission statement. Think of the mission statement as a kind of personal constitution. Just as the US government uses the US Constitution as a guide toward decision making, this mission or purpose statement can help to serve as your guide. This can be your own personal mission or purpose statement, but it is also helpful to work out a mission/purpose statement with your team. However, the most important step in making these statements is that you have identified what you truly value and understand why you have set the goals that you have set, both for your team and for yourself.

Keep in mind that the activities I mentioned, and a mission/purpose statement that is of any true worth takes more than just a week to put together. Contact me and use my coaching services and training workshops as beginning points to assist your leadership by design effort.

Stay tuned for Part 4 when I share how being a likeable leader requires “Understanding Motivation.”

All leaders need a coach to help with leadership development. I’d welcome the opportunity to be your coach. For a free complimentary coaching session, connect with me via email at or visit

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