My Voice

Leadership 101: Keeping Your I/O Scale in Balance

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  • Thursday, April 06, 2017
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  • Paul Larsen


An excerpt from my new leadership book: "Find Your VOICE as a Leader"

Leadership 101: Keeping Your I/O Scale in Balance

How many times have you heard a leader utter these words: “I have the best of intent”or “I had the best of intent”?

To be an effective leader, having the best of intent does not matter if it is not followed up by action. Action that is purposeful. Action that is aligned to an outcome…a vision. Thus, your intent as a leader needs to be measured by your outcomes as a leader. They go hand-in-hand. One with the other.
Leaders who have discovered and live their values, are in the perfect position to align their values with their intended outcomes….their vision. The key is consistently aligning your intentions as a leader with your desired outcomes. This is what I call your “I/O Scale."

Your “I/O Scale” as a leader should always be in balance…it should be equalized…it should be integrated. All of your stated intentions should match your outcomes 1-for-1. Intentions are nothing but empty promises…void of any trust, credibility or accountability if not tagged with solid goals and outcomes to make your intentions a reality. It is your leadership vision in action.

But many of today’s leaders get stuck on their intent…and never move forward to action. These leaders stay in the “safe harbor” of their own “intention island” and have a fear of sailing forward towards a desired action. Your intent as an effective leader should always have an appended outcome that you paint for your followers. You need to bring them along.

Intentions without aligned outcomes will create missed expectations and an unrealized potential that can discount and dilute your leadership brand and legacy faster than anything else. The world is full of “leaders” who pontificate their intentions…but are short on follow-up. These leaders have an I/O Scale that is completely out of balance and will wonder why they are unable to engage with a community of trust and credibility. Don’t let that happen to you.

But intention is only the first step in effective leadership. We can have the desire to do the “right thing” but unless we act…unless we take that first step towards the outcomes we want, our intention quickly becomes our island…which is just a useless piece of barren land surrounded by the deep waters of fear and anxiety . So do all that you can to swim away from your “Intention Island.” And move towards action and results. Better yet, keep your I/O Scale in check and never get yourself marooned on the island in the first place!

Our goals can change. They should change. Our life changes. Organizations change. Things happen. Sometimes expected and many times un-expected. We need to be able to evolve, to bend, to be flexible. But we still need to keep our eyes on our targets, our goals, our outcomes. We still need to measure our progress towards our vision, otherwise we will never move off “Intention Island.”

Keeping your I/O Scale in balance enables you to keep track of your progress towards your desired end results, no matter the detours our lives may take. As you find your VOICE as a Leader, charting your outcomes aligned to your values is critical in moving from intent to action. Build your bridge…learn to swim…float on a raft…but don’t stay marooned on Intention Island like other leaders!

Finding your V-O-I-C-E as a leader means discovering your core Values; creating a compelling Vision to obtain the Outcomes you want; building relationships with Influence and credibility; making decisions that use your Courage to stand alone; and communicating your overall Expression for lasting impact. And always keep your I/O Ratio in balance.

Want more? Check-out my new book:
"Find Your VOICE as a Leader"

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