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February is considered Black History Month (BHM) in the United States and Canada. However, it might surprise many of you that it is also celebrated in October in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In general, BHM is a time to celebrate and remember the contributions of the African diaspora throughout history. In the U.S., it is celebrated more specifically as a period to honor the triumphs and struggles of Black Americans who have helped shape the U.S. and who continue to strive for equality and justice as promised to all Americans.
I intend to dedicate this month's Leadership blog, The PIVOT Factor, to celebrate BHM. Consider how many Black American leaders have stood and sacrificed to advocate for social justice over the years. I can imagine how they could have used this PIVOT Factor as a tool as they set out to pursue their dreams and goals. With the intensified racial unrest emerging over the last few years, many in America are looking for ways to lower the discord. To that end, I am offering insight into how leaders may have acted then and now to take a stance or make a change. Ultimately, this tool is a guide and does not replace the due diligence of developing effective plans in pursuit of your dreams and ideas.
In 2022, as we continue to deal with COVID, this remains a tough time for leading organizations and families. Employees are leaving the traditional workforce for a variety of reasons. For some, it is to pursue a dream. For others, it is a matter of family survival. Many have decided that their work does not require them to be in a specific location, and they can move to less expensive areas or maintain a better lifestyle for themselves. Whatever the reason, you must admit that you, too, may have considered some work change or pivot. These pivots may relate to new products and services as well. Whatever your reasons for a pivot, I have a tool to help you move forward.
In moving forward, the first step is similar to what many Black American leaders have learned to do very well. How do you remember and acknowledge reality while forging forward? Notice I didn't ask how to forget; because if you forget, you may unexpectantly return to the place from which you started. But if you remember and acknowledge your past while forging forward, you maintain an internal motivation that will not let you quit when faced with setbacks or disappointments. Once you can confidently take that initial step, the PIVOT factor can help evaluate if the timing is right for you to pivot.
"The success of anything is built upon the failure or maturation of its past."
As you ponder why remembering while forging forward is a fundamental leadership principle, consider this statement: "The success of anything is built upon the failure or maturation of its past." Sit with that for a moment. What tool, technique, product, or behavior have you ever used or experienced that was not developed due to improving something previously? How can a leader know when it is time to try something new? As a tool, I offer the PIVOT Factor pictured above.
The PIVOT Factor has five steps to guide leaders when evaluating some decisions. This factor does not replace the standard business decisions tools that require financial planning and evaluation. The PIVOT Factor steps are:
P – Progressing with hope – Is your idea or goal an effort to resurrect what existed before, or are you simply leveraging what you have to create something new and better, faster, or more efficient? Hope is always future-focused, while fear often drives us to leave things the same or go backward.
I – Investment of self – Does what you consider require you to be all-in? Are you committed to putting skin in the game, or is it primarily based on ideology and others? Then, as a leader, you can show the way forward.
V – Vision-alignment – Do you have a mental vision of what you are pursuing through your idea? Can you imagine how it would work or integrate? Why do you believe it is possible? What ultimately will it accomplish? If you don't have the vision, how will anyone else?
O – Opening up opportunities – Along the journey to success, can you imagine other possibilities that might result from the time and effort given to pursue your idea? For example, if you research the success of a product or dream, you may notice that what resulted ultimately was not the initial intention but evolved as a result of the pursuit.
T – Time to Maturate– Your idea, dream, and hope most likely will take time to bake. Imagine and prepare that this may not happen without a struggle during the process. While some things may be instantaneous, many things designed to last… to make maximum impact… take time and effort.
"if you remember and acknowledge your past while forging forward, you maintain an internal motivation that will not let you quit when faced with setbacks or disappointments."
When you evaluate your goal, dream, or new direction through the lens of the PIVOT Factor, I believe you will have an improved chance of attaining that goal. History has already proven this to be accurate as we reflect on how Black Americans have forged forward while remembering. They showed leadership attributes of courage, hope, and self-sacrifice when invoking tenets of the PIVOT Factor. Many invested and even gave their lives in the quest for racial equality in America. But, there had to be a point in time when they said, "now is the time." Well, this PIVOT Factor can help you identify when the time is right for you.
Therefore, leaders, when you know in your mind, heart, and gut that there is something more you can envision for the future, don't give up. Instead, use the PIVOT Factor and remember while forging forward. Then, when others see your courage, hope, and self-sacrifice, they will catch your energy and join in your quest.
Try it. Let me know how it works for you. Please post comments at www.leadperpetully.com, or you can email me at Info@AllenManagementInc.com. I would love to hear from you and offer other techniques if you are interested. So now go forth and #LEADPerpetually.
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