This past year has resulted in a transformation for both The Leadership Circle and myself; a year ago I could have never imagined the powerful outcomes I’m currently witnessing. I want to share some of the decisions and challenges that The Leadership Circle and I were faced with last year and give you an update as to where we are now.
The Leadership Circle committed to some big initiatives over the last year. These initiatives stretched all aspects of our resources. For example, we chose to invest heavily in sourcing a marketing consultant and also to improving our brand. Additionally, we launched a new website, hired a new business development person, launched all new software for our survey completion and administration, and also launched a new product.
Some of these initiatives were deep in progress when we were faced with the economic downturn, but we consciously made the decision to push forward with all of our changes. Although these decisions were coupled with the fear of the unknown, we were committed. We made budget cuts in other areas and redistributed roles as needed.
During the launch of the new software, we experienced unanticipated hurdles. This is where my journey of transformation began. I looked square into the eyes of my fear of failure during the launch. It looked back at me and talked to me through the voices of some of our customers. I couldn’t hide, I couldn’t remain silent, and I couldn’t let someone else decide what to do. It had to be me. So, this is what I chose to do–much like The Leadership Circle chose to push on with the expensive, resource-heavy initiatives we had already committed to before the economy went sour, I too had to accept the fear of failure and push on.
My decision to push on and develop a plan for moving us, and myself, forward wasn’t an easy one. I remember first working through the “fight or flight” adrenaline that I’ve heard referenced (and yes, the “flight” part sounded appealing). I became aware of the feelings I was experiencing and the ways in which they were representing me in my interactions. I watched myself slouch, speak softly, and not want to answer the phone. None of this felt good to me and I grew increasingly aware that I was not serving anyone in this manner.
I, therefore, chose to move through the fear that was holding me back and engage more fully. I decided that my failure, if perceived as that, didn’t define me and there was still more work to be done. As I engaged in laying out plans for moving forward, if only with small steps initially, I began to see how all of the other plans and initiatives on which The Leadership Circle placed priority, started to come together. I found excitement in the strategic thinking of how the new puzzle pieces could fit together. I actually found myself in situations saying “Yes. I don’t know how, but we’ll figure it out.” This was very different for the engineering side of me that previously felt as if it needed to have all of the details mapped out and in place in my head before I could begin.
In The Leadership Circle, we chose to move forward in very uncertain times with some high costs involved. We are now seeing the benefits of those choices. Our organization feels more fully integrated, more focused on our goals, and more scalable. Both our new website and our branding changes, have received positive feedback. The Manager Edition launch was successful, and it is now finding its place within management levels of many organizations. Many of you have been introduced to and supported by our Business Development Manager. We are in a very different position with the software we launched a year ago.
Recently, we released a new feature that sends practitioners with an active project an email seven days prior to the completion date. This email notifies them of participant status and even provides shipping address information for confirmation. We continue to make improvements like this, add features, and think creatively about how we can improve and build upon our IT department.
The experience of the software launch forced me to face fears that I didn’t want to face. It also enabled me to appreciate the capacity to which we can change and grow in situations if we continue to push through and be open to the opportunity without allowing fear to get in our way. Thank you to everyone for your continued support over the last year. It has been amazing and it has truly helped The Leadership Circle rise to a new level. We look forward to moving ahead together as The Leadership Circle improves to new heights in the future.