I have noticed lately that there is a tendency for leaders of any stripe to over utilize social media to discover the latest and greatest strategy that they can employ. Don’t get me wrong-I am obviously using social media now to get a point across. We live in a wonderful age where there is more practical information available to us than ever before. And leaders can and should take advantage of this great resource. The problem lies in that we are a people who tend to believe that the latest strategy that worked for someone else will be equally effective for us. But leaders must innovate and contextualize to be effective in their own setting. Therefore, we can’t afford to get caught up in the “latest and greatest” craze. The key is to take a principled approach to our leadership.
Every leadership role has a context. That context is shaped by a vision, mission and values (or at least it should be). The best way to tap into the ideation that exists through social media is to be ruthless in looking for the principle beyond the strategy. Look for what drove a particular strategy. Ask “why” another leader chose to utilize a specific strategy to achieve effective results. True leadership principles stand the test of time. Strategies come and go.
The key to your effectiveness will not be in mimicking someone else’s success. It will lie in discovering the principle behind the new idea and to contextualize that principle according to your organization’s DNA and vision, mission and values. Only then can you know that you have led purposefully and strategically for the context you are in. This is why I strongly advocate keeping a leadership journal. It can be a digital one or an old school ink and paper variety. Let it be a place where you can regularly capture leadership principles that can then be considered and thought through for fresh contextualized application within your leadership setting. Lead well!