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4D Leadership

4D Leadership – Competitive Advantage Through Vertical Leadership Development

Twenty years ago the accumulation of skills, knowledge and experience (‘horizontal development’) was sufficient for business success. Today, it’s not. 4D Leadership – Competitive Advantage Through Vertical Leadership Development, offers a new approach of ‘vertical development’.

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Why doing less can help you achieve more

doing lessAs a leader doing more with less is often the demand that is made of us isn’t it?

In my 20 years of corporate life and over 15 as a consultant I have attended lots of meetings. Many seemed to result in agreeing lists of new projects or initiatives and assigning numerous actions mostly to those present, and even sometimes to others who weren’t even in attendance!

Rarely was there any assessment of current workloads, or of the relative priority of the existing work versus any new tasks. In many cases the fear of being seen not to take action seemed to drive people to take action for action’s sake. I know that some of the demands put upon me in my corporate days, while well intentioned, often struck me as ‘make work’ initiatives. This work rarely appeared to add value and often diverted limited resources away from the immediate task at hand.

So, what should we do?

Step back and evaluate what is being asked of you in light of your purpose, ambition and strategy. Which activities currently on your ‘to do’ list are really helping move you forward?

This can be a very illuminating exercise. You might be surprised to discover just how many items you could transfer to a ‘stop do’ list! I have rarely heard leaders ask: “What will we not do to make space for these new actions?” However, it is an incredibly useful question to pose.

Stepping back and even stepping up to take a higher perspective can help executives see that a singular focus on ‘doing’ ignores two other really important dimensions. The world of ‘doing’ in which most executives live exclusively doesn’t make room for either ‘being’ or ‘relating’. These are two extremely important dimensions. While they may seem irrelevant to your world of ‘doing’, they are in fact super important for getting stuff done!

When we focus on our being we give ourselves a real opportunity to be at our best, to be really clear about our purpose, better placed to manage our energy and, most importantly, to think clearly as we make decisions.

Of course making space for ‘relating’ (the third dimension) has another benefit for leaders. Great relaters build high performing teams more quickly, influence others and engage them in helping drive results. They also have more meaningful discussions on difficult topics and are better informed.

So by stopping ‘doing’ or at least by doing less and by paying attention to ‘being’ and ‘relating’ we can find that we achieve more, in fact a lot more.

For more on the four dimensions of leadership, read Dr Alan Watkins’ latest book: 4D Leadership: Competitive Advantage Through Vertical Leadership Development

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Dr Alan Watkins

Alan is recognised as an international expert on leadership and human performance. He has a broad mix of commercial, academic, scientific and technological abilities.


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