#018 - 5 things I wish my younger self as a leader knew.

And how it improved the leaders I've worked with

Reading Time: 2.39 min

Welcome to another issue of Refresh. Rethink.—a cool leadership breeze on a warm sunny day.

It is Friday evening when I write this issue for tomorrow morning. My wife and I sit at the kitchen table, drinking one glass of deep red Zinfandel.🍷 

We like to co-work in the evenings for an hour or so when the kids are asleep. It happens too little, though. Life always happens to you, especially with kids.
But that’s ok. It makes me appreciate these moments even more. 😇

While sipping my wine, I'm brainstorming what to write about and came up with the idea to share five things I wished I had known when starting as a business leader early on in my career.

Here are the 5 things I wish my younger self as a leader knew.

1) All organizations, small and large, need a mission and vision statement

Regardless of size, a clear mission and vision statement is crucial for any organization. A mission statement defines the purpose of your organization. In contrast, a vision statement outlines the impact they're trying to make. These statements guide decision-making, set priorities, and help align everyone in the organization toward a common destination.

Note to yourself:

I only know how far I need to travel when I know my destination; that's why I need a clear mission and vision statement for my business.

2) Strategy and Culture are not opposites; they're two sides of the same medal

You've probably heard the statement: "culture eats strategy for breakfast," as if strategy and culture are opposing forces. But in reality, they work hand in hand. A strong culture can support a successful strategy, while a well-executed plan can reinforce the culture. Recognizing and nurturing both elements is essential to create a healthy and prosperous organization.

Note to yourself:

When I look at my calendar, do I see time blocks or meetings reserved for building our culture? I must be intentional in nurturing my culture.

3) It's not about the plan but about knowing how to plan quickly and well

Planning effectively and rapidly is a valuable skill for any business leader. In business, plans often need to be adjusted quickly to respond to changes in the market or industry. It's essential to have a flexible and adaptable approach to planning that can pivot as needed while maintaining a clear direction.

Note to yourself:

When reality mismatches with my initial plan, I need to be more agile in adjusting it. Planning is a dynamic ritual for our business.

4) Leading people the right way is about leading yourself first

Leading a team is a big responsibility, and it's easy to get caught up in the needs and demands of others. But it's important to remember that leading others starts with leading yourself. Taking care of your well-being, setting an example of positive behavior, and practicing self-reflection can all contribute to being a better leader for your team.

Note to yourself:

I must make time daily to do self-reflection in a journal to write down and understand my feelings; only then can I let go of the negative ones.

5) Spend 20% of your time thinking instead of executing

It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations and lose sight of the bigger picture. But taking time to step back and think can be incredibly valuable for your organization. You can make better decisions and guide your organization toward success by dedicating some of your time to thinking, reflecting, and strategizing.

Note to yourself:

Thinking is work too. I'll stay on my path through the deep forest if I think daily for at least 30-60 minutes.

There you have it, the five things I've learned throughout a 24-year-long career in leadership & organizations, but I wished I had known at the start.

What's one thing you wish you had known when you started journeying?

That's a wrap for today!

See you next week,


When you’re ready to learn how I’ve helped other CEOs / Founders develop themselves as visionary and resilient leaders, then book a free consultation with me here:

Excited to get to know you!