Margaret Graziano, Sharp Alignment CEO and author of the forthcoming book “Ignite Culture” about leading, high-performing organizations.
Study the history of major breakthroughs – in achievement, culture, sports, business, science or elsewhere – and you will find some common themes and characteristics. First and foremost there is always a vision, and then there is an inspiring articulation of that vision.
Think of the United States’ mission to land a man on the moon. On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy stood before Congress and… said that the nation must commit to achieving this goal before the end of the decade. A year later, Kennedy stated:“We’re choosing to go to the moon this decade and do the other things, not because they’re easy, but because they’re hard.” Despite many obstacles, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong climbed the ladder and walked on the moon on July 20, 1969, stating“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for humanity.”
Just as important in historical breakthroughs is what you don’t see: self-limiting behavior. If you want to punch a hole in the current state of your business, you need to eliminate self-limiting behaviors and start living your vision. How do you start? First you have to be honest about everything that is holding you back. The more personal development you do to strengthen your higher self and align your thoughts and behavior with your personal values and vision, the more likely you will experience a professional breakthrough.
What is a breakthrough?
A breakthrough is an exponential leap in what is possible. To be what you want to be, you must first imagine it. Then you need to align your thoughts and actions with that vision. Typically, you need to address this in your own life before you can inspire your executive team and others to commit to a shared vision. To achieve your personal breakthrough, take the following three actions:
1. Explain your vision
Make an unbending commitment to what will be – as JFK did. Embrace your vision and clear anything that stands in your way. Start with a clean slate. Live in alignment with the person you have declared to be and the vision you have committed to make a reality. Take all those broken appointments, disappointments, failures and other garbage from your past and throw them away. Say goodbye to self-limiting beliefs and behaviors forever. Our brains are programmed to remember failures, to hesitate instead of crossing boundaries, and to fear what we don’t know. To overcome this self-limiting mindset, you must make an irrevocable change in your thinking and behavior. To achieve your vision, you must ensure that everything you do align with who you say you are and what you are committed to doing. This is the moment when everything changes forever. Explain it.
2. Hold Yourself Responsible
Once you’ve expressed your vision and committed to it, hold yourself accountable. This is central to your success. You cannot fool yourself. You can’t get sold out. You cannot fall back into old behavior, patterns and negative thoughts. I’ll say it again: live in accordance with the person you’ve stated you are and the vision you’ve pledged to be a reality. This means speaking up and embodying your values, mission and vision every hour of every day. No excuses. Anything less than this will hinder your ability to break through.
What does this look like in the real world? For example, if you state that part of your vision is to create a more diverse and inclusive business, but the only people who help you make decisions look and think exactly like you, then your behavior and your vision is not aligned. Hold yourself accountable and solve that problem immediately.
3. Maintain Integrity
Did you know that integrity means more than immortality? It is also determined as “the quality or condition of complete or undivided.” In other words, you cannot live with integrity and be at war with yourself. Always strive to live in accordance with the person you have declared to be and the vision you have committed to make a reality. When the going gets tough, you can’t just put your values, mission and vision on a shelf for 24 hours. It’s important to keep yourself steady and on track. Otherwise, you may lose faith in yourself, and if you don’t trust yourself, others won’t trust you either.
When you look in the mirror and see someone who lacks integrity, you weaken your confidence, self-esteem and self-esteem. Know that you are being tested – make no mistake about it. The evolutionary wiring of your ego will undermine your efforts every step of the way. It will remind you of your limitations and all the bad things around the corner. If you get off track, just acknowledge that you’re not on the right track and move on.
Once you’ve completed these three steps to achieve your personal breakthrough, you can take everything you’ve learned to your executive team and inspire them to do the same hard work. Together you will then be ready to build a new organizational culture and create real and lasting change.