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Your leadership North Star
And how to find it.
The North Star or Pole Star – aka Polaris – holds almost still in our sky while the entire northern sky moves around it.
It is the brightest star in the Ursa Minor constellation and is readily visible to the eye at night. It is the star that stands out the most when all others around it fade into the darkness.
At any one time, there are almost 9,000 stars in the sky at night. Yet it is Polaris that our ancestors used to guide them when they needed direction.
Nowadays there are google maps. But what navigation apps can’t do is help us navigate the complex, high pace, frantic worlds we live in.
Every day leaders must make tough choices, take high-risk decisions, and sometimes, compromise.
And where you invest your time and what you choose to focus on has an immediate and longer-term impact on your lives and work.
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity”
The actions you take every day must be aligned with the direction that you want to go; toward your own North Star.
Different Perspectives of the North Star
You can think of your own north star from different angles; internal and external.
For example, looking inwardly, you might ask: What is my inner guiding star? What guides me inside when I have a tough decision to make? What guides the direction in which I step?
And from the outside: What do I want others to notice, think, or feel about the way I lead?
In his now famous TED talk, Simon Sinek described how important it is to get underneath what guides you “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.
For leaders, knowing what guides you, isn’t just for you. It’s about your team too.
What guides your leadership team’s decisions? What values do you all share and agree on that underpin how you operate? What stands out the most about you as a collective to those that look to you for direction?
In times when clients feel challenged, I often ask them "What is the principled way to get through this?”
Your North Star will help you.
North Star Matrix
Take a moment and use the matrix above to reflect on what guides you.
Because great leaders don’t just lead, they are great followers too. Find your north star and let it guide you on your way.
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