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Awareness, Purpose, Discernment, and Action

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Effective, scalable leadership begins with awareness – first self-awareness, and then systems awareness. Leaders who evolve over time and remain relevant are consciously aware of the assumptions, beliefs, and thinking that drive their behavior. And because they are open to learning and feedback, they are consistently hearing from others about what’s working and not working with the way they lead.

Effective leaders are purpose-driven; they derive meaning from their work and the impact their work has on individuals, teams, organizations, and communities. They have a vision for themselves and their organizations that serves a greater good and contributes to something larger than themselves. They are a force for good, and to paraphrase the Dalai Lama, they do good while doing well. Their vision is a source of inspiration and serves as a guidepost for day-to-day decision making and action.

Being on purpose provides the content, context, and guidelines for being discerning – the ability to make conscious choices, choices that are aligned and congruent with espoused values and virtues. These choices may not always be popular, but they are aligned with purpose and values and they serve the greater good. This greater good goes well beyond making a profit and maximizing shareholder value. It provides opportunities for growth, development, and contribution and has a positive and sustainable impact on the communities in which these leaders and organizations reside.

Discernment without action is nothing more than interesting philosophy. Once a conscious choice is made, it is critical that it be put into action so people can benefit from its intended outcome. Specific steps must be taken in the outer world; this inspired action provides a positive ripple effect in the organizations and communities in which you serve.

Spend enough quiet time becoming more fully aware of the effectiveness of your thinking and acting. Be intentional and on purpose with an eye toward making everyone and everything you come in contact with somehow better. Be discerning and make conscious choices, making sure you turn those choices into action.

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