Self-innovation for Leaders – A Tool Supporting Leading by Influence

leadership and self-innovation

‘Mein toh aisa hi hoon’
A statement I heard a friend say often.
Indicating that he was ‘made this way’
A lie we tell ourselves and others.
We are changeable, malleable and made for innovation.

Self is where we lead ourselves from. So, innovating the self means making small and big changes that serve a new purpose.

Self-innovation may serve us in a new life role or a new job role to be a better parent, spouse, sibling, friend, or colleague.
Let us set some records straight. The way we lead ourselves is conditioned by:

  • Our experiences, culture, and families we grow in shape our experiences.
  • We are capable of rewriting our stories.
  • We can innovate ourselves and walk a new path.
  • We can live rooted in choice.

Life will show you innumerable examples of the above innovations. Those who have transformed unrecognizably their lives and their destiny. Many individuals have life triggers that lead them to innovate. Triggers such as broken relationships, addictions, loss, grief, failure, and illness.  These triggers create a breakdown in life. Breakdowns can lead to innovations which is an influential tool.
Why wait for a breakdown? How about we set up an ‘innovation attitude’ from the start?

The innovation attitude says

  • I am open
  • I will be aware
  • I will question
  • I will observe
  • I  will seek
  • I will learn
  • I will choose
  • I can

Each of the above being powerful permissions for self-innovation.

Here are 5 questions for your self-innovation journey: It will need to be 1-2 word answers.
#1 What is the  1 relationship skill I wish to update?……………..
#2 What is the 1 money habit I wish to update?………………
#3 What is the 1 health habit I wish to update?……………
#4 What is the 1 social habit I wish to change?………….
#5 What is the 1 self-care behavior I wish to learn?……..
Answering each of the above is the first step.
You will then need to think of 1 small new behavior for each one that you can practice.
Start with #1 in week 1.
Add #2 in week 2 and so on…

If you are up for a deeper dive I wish to point you to a useful tool that I use as a coach.
The Wheel of Life tool was initially developed by Paul J Meyer and is used as a coaching tool.

Here is an illustration of how I use it in coaching:

I used these 12 questions from the Coaching Tools to reflect with clients:

  • How do you feel about your life as you look at your Wheel?
  • Are there any surprises for you?
  • How do you currently spend time in these areas?
  • What would make that a score of 10?
  • What would a score of 10 look like?
  • Which of these categories would you most like to improve?
  • How could you make space for these changes in your life?
  • What help and support might you need from others to make changes and be more satisfied with your life?
  • What changes do you want to make first?
  • What is the smallest step you could take to get started?
  • If there was one key action that would begin to bring everything into balance what would it be?

Using the Wheel of Life these were a few of my experiences with coaching different clients:

  • Suresh used the reflections to decide his goals for the next 3 years and 5 years. He realized his financial planning was in poor shape. He had not planned well enough for two of his son’s foreign education. Being a busy leader, he had left his financial planning to his spouse who had taken ineffective action. The wheel showed he was in the red in the finance area. He needed to put in a concerted plan and do it immediately. He engaged a planner who worked with him to decide on goals, investments, and projections for 3-5 years. The planner and he created an action plan for investments and savings that could be reviewed every 6 months.  He learnt to get disciplined about his money.
  • Amita was a 50-year-old professional and was a working person since she was 18 years of age. She decided to use this wheel for goal setting and change in the area of social life and self-care. Her busy schedule had alienated her social circle and she chose to resurrect it. She understood that her low moods and disengagement with her work came from the fact that her needs had shifted.  She had ignored the same. She chose to take a 1-year sabbatical in her role.  She made time to pursue her health goals of yoga and doing some intensive health retreats. She was single and decided that she wished to travel, visit friends and family. Enjoyment and joy in her social life became an important focus.
  • Veena,  38 was a HR professional.  She was in coaching with me for 1 year and we had worked on several parts of her work and life. We used the wheel of life as a closing reflection and assessment of the past year’s work. She could establish where her biggest areas of shift had been. It served as a way of celebrating a few wins. Further, it integrated the new habits and changes she had made in her mastery journey.
  • Madhav a senior leader came to me as he was recovering from cancer. He had a senior role in his organization. He survived his cancer treatment while working at 50% capacity. This experience taught him what his mind and body felt like when he held a lighter day. We used the wheel of life to talk about the stressors in his life. Identify them, see their impact on himself, and decide what to eliminate and what he would live with. By zooming out and taking stock he decided he will go back to his organization. But,  with a request for a different role or an altered one which took his health needs into consideration.

Self-innovation is about living your potential!

It is about bringing into focus those areas you wish to alter and change so you can be in a satisfied and comfortable life. Use self-innovation for a new way of engaging with changing yourself.

I would love to hear about your experiences of self-innovation!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *