Leadership That Creates Progress

Progress is a word that highlights a movement forward. As leaders, we’re all faced with shepherding change forward. In our life, business and in our organizations. Simple change offers great relief when we approach it solely from a perspective of action & reaction. Step one, two, three. Often however, the progress we’re seeking is more complex in nature. A common sign of a complex change is when it feels like we’ve taken two step forwards and one back. Another sign is when we’re feeling stuck. When you feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing is creating the progress you’re seeking.

It can be helpful, in particular when we’re feeling stuck, to choose to move.

To take “one” next step.

As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.
— Rumi

Today, I want to offer you a next step. Specifically, an invitation to pause and consider how you’re relating to progress in your life, leadership & service.

Three places I’d invite you to look are: pacing, purpose & perspective.

As we choose to take the step to consider progress, let’s remember as leaders it begins with us.

Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.
— Rumi

Let’s begin with exploring what progress means for us. Potential synonyms for progress could be growth, advancement, betterment, increase. 

Take a moment & consider what does progress mean for you?

Whether it’s a new business process, strategic initiative or maybe more personal in nature, spend a moment to:

Identify one area in your life, leadership & service that you’re seeking progress in.


Now that you have one area identified, let’s explore three ways to deepen your understanding of progress.


How are you pacing change? 

Hurry up already. Do you ever feel like time is melting away and that the clock governs your progress? In our important work of setting goals, we often don’t check-in on timing and the overall energy quotient of progress. We rush from this to that, pulling multiple levers of change hoping that something grabs. I see this a lot in my current world of business. Marketing is a great example for those of us in business, where we rush to engage multiple channels for development of business, instead of nurturing those which align best with our business.

For example, if you’re in a widget business and you're seeking progress in volume and quantity, then maybe pacing is a metric you want to see improve. Having said that, how does quality factor in? What role does pacing have on that metric of progress? If you’re seeking progress in a new health habit ideally, progress being sought will be sustainable. Not always so. You don't have to look far to see a lot of demand and false promises for the quick fixes. We've all bought in at times, only to discover that the long game progress we’re truly seeking doesn’t deliver.

If you’re seeking to create progress in your business and you sell a "people" service, like moi, then, pacing is extremely important. Why? Because people are complex. We’re complex. Service is filled with many threads required to be tended to, not rushed. Yesterday I was on a call with someone attempting to sell me their service to support my business. It was rushed and pushy. Informative yes, and there was little to no conversation about the progress I was truly aiming to create (see exploration of purpose below). Guess what, sale didn’t happen.

Being in a business that’s about delivering people services and in particular if you’re the service provider, we must be willing to make friends with pacing. I am learning it requires a deep grounding in the next frame I’ll offer, called purpose and an open-ness being with the third frame, below, perspective. If you're interested in stepping into a new way of relating to your business, Join the upcoming Women & Business Sales & Service Conversation.

Finally, when considering pacing, what might be possible if you were to pause and celebrate where you are, right now? 

Where ever you stand, be the soul of that place.
— Rumi


What’s your big WHY? Early on in some coaching programs we’re taught to “avoid” the Why question. After coaching for over a decade, I couldn’t disagree more. How ever you re-frame the question…what’s most important to you about seeking progress here? The bottom line is whatever we’re seeking to create progress in/ with/through our leadership I believe requires a deep connection and grounding with our Why.

Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.
— John F. Kennedy 

If I consider how many years I worked in leading change within organizations, this one conversation was often spoken on a slide at the beginning of the “launch” and never revisited. In working with clients, one-on-one who’re seeking progress in their personal lives, this is imperative. It's the fuel that keeps us progressing, when the lure of the familiar comes knocking.

What is your Why?

Why do you really want to loose weight? Why have you gone into business for yourSelf? Why study this or that? Why start meditating? Think you get the point here. It’s a conversation to be welcomed, explored and tended to, again and again and again. The Why must feel meaningful and relevant. This is most often WHY:) clients come to coaching. Why they seek consultants and coaches for their organization and why leaders pursue their own development, first and foremost.

There is some purpose that seeks to be realized. A purpose that is greater than the choice to change this or that. 

Spend some time now with the area you identified earlier and ask yourself, what is the big why here? 

I’d invite you to be curious about this as well with others for whom you’re supporting in the “progress conversation” of your leadership.


What is your relationship with the big picture & details?

I can’t tell you how many times in my work in organizations and with clients one on one, how the elephant is seeking to be consumed. We throw up an entire process for reconfiguration. We choose to adopt multiple strategies of living with greater well-being. We attempt to reorganize our business from top-bottom. This all or nothing approach to progress is daunting and exhausting. In many ways, it emerges out of a great intention for innovation. For a positive intent to grow. The pendulum can also swing the opposite way where we seek to map out every detail and embark on a slow and sometimes painful journey of crossing T’s and dotting I’s.

Today consider what potential might live in the “and” of progress. Where the big picture lives as you engage the power of choice in taking the very next step.

I am continually learning this as a business owner. It’s a dance of focusing on the details and the big picture at the same time. As a service oriented business it requires that I hold my vision and mission dearly and engage the steps to progress towards it.

If your area is within an organization and you’re seeking progress with a change initiative, take some time now and consider the elephant and the details.

Often when we remind ourselves of the big picture, we can feel greater ease with the details. Our pacing course corrects and we can appreciate the elephant as an aim, versus a goal that must be achieved by Friday @5pm.

I hope that what I’ve shared today has inspired you to consider how tending to pacing, purpose and perspective in your leadership that creates progress.

If you’re not sure where to go next, take a moment to consider if engaging a coach might serve you. I would welcome the opportunity to walk with you as you seek to create progress in your life, leadership & service. 

It’s your road, and yours alone, others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.
— Rumi