Knowing When To Grow

One thing I struggled with early in my leadership career was how and when to apply the great advice I received. The biggest struggle came with applying the “start with why” approach. Simon Sinek became a role model for me, but I still struggled to stay consistent with applying his methods.

For many years since I tried to find a way to apply various teachings, like; servant-based leadership, trust, 5-levels of leadership, delegation, happiness, etc. There are two things I learned quickly

  1. Knowing when to apply techniques, for yourself and others.
  2. Knowing what techniques should be applied, for yourself and others.

Going back to the “start with why” approach. I had great success in applying it to my journey. It worked well and I tried to apply it to my teams, it didn’t work so well. About a year later, I changed jobs and suddenly I could no longer apply the technique to myself. To be clear I could, but nothing was sticking for longer than a few days or weeks.

It was then that I wanted to understand what was going on. To be authentic here, motivational tag lines erk me pretty bad. I cringe when I see someone post something like “Be an Inspiring Leader” or “Trust and Openness Make Great Leaders” I shake my head. What does that mean, how does one apply that. Motivation is great and can be helpful, but not when there isn’t context as to how action can be taken with it.

We turned to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It was an amazing model detailing human needs and behaviors. It became the basis of how I now approach life and my journey.

Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and together with a great group of leaders, we created a growth model that helps people know what techniques to apply and when to apply them. The model is meant to be simple, effective and help guide long-lasting growth. We created the name GAP Inspiration Model.

Growth is the top of the model and triangle in our diagram. It represents the time in your journey to apply advanced techniques. Start with why, being a level 4 or 5 leader, push BHAGs, long-term strategy, etc. Anything that is high-level long term growth goes here.

Associations is the middle level of the model and triangle. It represents the time in your journey where you are working closely with others. This is where you apply trust, authenticity, integrity, level 2 and 3 leadership. Anything that related to working closely with others and building rapport.

Preservation is the bottom level, the foundation of the triangle. It represents the time in your journey you are most focused on yourself, even as a leader. This is where you work on stress, organization, habit building, value identification, level 1 leadership, etc. Anything related to things related to you and your happiness or well-being.

The secret to all the great advice out there is knowing when to act on something and when you pocket it. By using the GAP Model, you can help identify where you, or someone else, are on your growth journey. Then you can apply the right advice to help you grow.

Knowing what advice to seek and how to apply it is critical to your success. It is the biggest factor in determining long-term success or short-term motivation.

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