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Carve a Path at Work That is Authentically You

This article was based on episode 222 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon, and Stitcher. Members of the Modern Manager community get a free Motivation and Feedback document. Never miss a worksheet, episode or article: subscribe to Mamie’s newsletter.

“The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths so strong that it makes the system's weaknesses irrelevant.” - Peter Drucker


This concept has changed how businesses think about their work. But what about us as individuals? As Lance Tanaka put it, we spend way too much time trying to fix our weaknesses instead of honing our strengths. And yet, it’s our unique combination of strengths that will catapult us to great heights.


If we can understand who we are at our core, we can find clues to becoming our best self and helping our team members do the same.


Lance has developed a remarkable system for finding that DNA, which he calls the Dream and Achieve approach. As an executive leadership expert, Lance elevates leaders and teams to increase their business production, performance, and profit.


Here, Lance guides managers in how to find their own and their team’s DNA through a powerful 90 day process that is the ultimate roadmap to success.


THE DREAM ’N ACHIEVE DNA PROCESS


Instead of trying to find our “True North”, Lance suggests we focus on finding the right direction. The “True North'' myth often paralyzes people because they’re worried that their next step isn’t the absolute best one. Instead, think about trying to take steps that move you in the right direction. Sometimes, it may be 6 degrees more east, other times it may be 12 degrees to the west. It’s about adjusting your course along the way, knowing it will zig and zag as you go.


Here is the high level overview of Lance’s approach to discovering your optimal direction.


Step 1: Create Your Lists

The process begins by looking into both your strengths and your passions (what you most care about). This shouldn’t be an hours-long, deep-work thinking session. Rather, spend 10-15 minutes a day thinking and jotting down thoughts. This will help you generate more ideas than one long sitting. Create a list each day for about twenty days and you’ll give yourself a solid starting point.


Step 2: Look for Common Themes

Next, find the common themes that come up over and over again in those daily lists. People generally have between 7-9 elements that they feel they need in life. For example, Lance found that having an impact and performing were two categories that showed up regularly for him.


Step 3: Drill Down

Then really drill into these elements. Ask yourself the who, what, when, where and whys. When do you want to make these things happen? Where do you want them to happen? Who do you want to be involved in this journey? By drilling down, you will create a clearer road map of your future path.


The Result of Finding Your DNA

When you take the time to really discover what makes you you, and then create a road map for how to go in that direction, one of three things will happen. Sometimes it’s a major life change, like moving to a new city or switching careers. Other times, it’s a sideways shift; you’re in the same company but maybe you’re part of a new team or you stay in the same job but at a new company. Lastly, it could be minor shifts that make all the difference over time, like picking up a new hobby or adjusting your job responsibilities slightly. It’s the compounding of little corrections that lead in the end to a tipping point of great change.


All of these outcomes have the potential to drastically improve your well-being.


HELP YOUR TEAM FIND THEIR DNA


Employees, like each of us, want purpose. They desire it more these days than ever. A manager might even subconsciously fear that helping their employee find their direction and DNA will mean that the staff will leave and move on to a job that’s better for them. (Don’t worry. That’s usually not the case, and even if it is, that’s a good thing!) Employees will often shift and rebalance how they work so that it aligns better with their lives. They will be more dedicated and happy in their role if they can channel their gifts.


Group DNA Work is the Best

The DNA process is most effective when done as a group activity. That way, the group can give constructive feedback and learn from each other’s growth. We don’t always realize our strengths because we spend most of our time comparing ourselves to those who are better than us. Often our teammates have better insight into our strengths than we do. While you could hire a coach to guide the sessions, anyone on the team could run it as well. Lance recommends following the same process outlined above but making time for the team to share their findings and offer enrichments.


Instead of berating yourself for everything you did wrong at work today, think about what you’re most proud of. What makes you happiest? When do you feel strongest? What matters most to you in life? Your DNA is your personal roadmap. By understanding it and helping your team understand theirs, we can chart the path to lives that feel most productively and satisfyingly ours.


KEEP UP WITH LANCE


Get 25% off Lance’s course, Dream & Achieve, when you become a member of the Modern Manager community at themodernmanager.com/join.


This article was based on episode 222 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon, and Stitcher. Never miss a worksheet, episode or article: subscribe to Mamie’s newsletter.

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