Explore your Personal Helm
For the past ten years, organizations and teams have used Leading from the Helm (LFTH) as a way to maximize human potential and drive organizational performance (if you are familiar with Traction, it takes your Traction investment and enhances it 8+ fold).
However, many of our clients have asked us to ‘personalize’ the Helm, and make it relatable at the individual level. So that is what we did. In addition to the organizational model, we have developed a parallel model that helps the individual stand behind the helm of their own life and experience a significant return on their own efforts.
Here is a quick outline that you can use to better understand the eight dimensions of the Personal Helm, and some questions to think about and apply to your life.
At our core, we want to live a purpose-filled life, and we want to be sure that the organization(s) that we are affiliated with share a common purpose with us; we want to be aligned. We know based upon our research using the 8 Factors of Engagement that Purpose is the number one factor that drives employee engagement, so it is important to understand what our purpose is.
- What is your purpose?
- Do you have a personal mission statement?
- What is your True North?
Understanding Self is at the cornerstone of leadership development. Having self awareness and knowing how we impact others is foundational to emotional and social intelligence. We use a series of powerful self awareness tools that helps the individual understand themselves. In turn, this helps you understand others to better adapt and connect. One of those models is the 4 Colors of Insights.
- What is your unique leadership style?
- What are your preferences when interacting with the world and others?
- What can you do to better adapt and build trust within relationships?
Culture is your values and beliefs. Just like values are used within corporate culture, you also have your own values and belief system. The parallel between the personal and professional helm here is very similar. In both contexts it is good to ask:
- What are our values?
- What are our beliefs?
- How do they align with the overall purpose?
When we can answer these questions, it is important to see how we are creating a Purposeful Culture of Trust. Trust is an invaluable aspect of culture, and fostering a Purposeful Culture of Trust will translate positively into your team or community.
Our tribe, our crew, our friends, or our family, Community are the individuals with whom we surround ourselves. It is typical that we surround ourselves with others who are like-minded (we sometimes call them our inner circle). When we practice diversity and inclusion, using appreciative inquiry, we can start to value the differences in others absent of judgment of their differing values and beliefs. Cultivating a judgement-free and supportive environment is healthy for the workplace and your life. It is also how we build trust.
- Who are the individuals in your inner circle?
- How do you honor a culture of diversity and inclusion?
- What is your approach to better understanding and appreciating others’ differences?
Engagement is our foundation, the pedestal that our Helm sits on. Engagement is what drives and motivates us the most, and it affects our productivity and general well-being. It is the leading most indicator to performance, client engagement, and overall results.
Our personal engagement is also the leading indicator on how we leverage our talents and gifts, and so it is important that we continuously check in with ourselves. Some of the questions to ask yourself are:
- What are the factors that are most important to us when reflecting on engagement?
- What are our top driving forces that motivate us the most?
- What do we do daily to ensure that we work on things that leverage our talents and allows us to work on the things that we are most passionate about?
Service is the knowledge, skills, abilities, and talents that you possess. It is the gifts that have been given to you as an individual, and the choices you make to use those gifts/talents wisely. By developing an understanding and awareness of your talents, you will be better able to maximize their return.
- What are the gifts and talents that have been given to you?
- What are the areas of knowledge and skill you accelerate at the most?
- In what areas are you able to serve others?
Society is about who you serve. We all have many talents and passions, and those that do not necessarily apply to work, we need to apply someplace else. Maybe that is coaching little league baseball, maybe it is volunteering to teach a class, or giving time to your church. Whatever it may be, we need to foster the need to connect, and how best to have an impact on the community that you are a part of.
- Who currently benefits from your service?
- Who could benefit the most from your talents and gifts?
- Whose life would you like to make the greatest impact on?
Our impact on society is a result of everything that we do. What is the difference that our contributions are producing? Another way to think about this is the ripple or butterfly effect – how something that we do now can greatly impact something else down the line. If you have an intention around the particular impact that you want to have, it will help you visualize the effect. This becomes the legacy you leave.
- What are the areas of impact you are currently having?
- What are some areas of impact you could be having?
- What would you like to leave as your lasting legacy?
All of these elements are interwoven with each other, and while they do not exist in isolation, the Helm is a proven model for unlocking self-awareness and individual potential. Working through the Helm will help you refine your purpose. If you do not know your purpose (and that is okay!) start with self-awareness and continue clockwise.
So how’s the view from your Helm? Is the path in front of you clear or clouded? Dr. Sicora’s recently published Grab the Helm provides a gateway toward exploring your own Helm, and navigating your life and career toward a more meaningful and fulfilling purpose.