Heads Down, Pencils Up Leadership?

Wish I knew what you were looking for.
Might have known what you would find.
– Church, Under The Milky Way

by J. William DeMarco

Can’t recall where I came across the phrase, “Heads Down/Pencils Up Leadership,” but I believe it was in a podcast… probably Andy Traub. This is something I have continually gone back to several times over the past month or so.

It would seem that we honestly live in a Heads Down/Pencils Up society. No matter which position (job/duty title) I have held….minus a very few…. it seems we are all looking at the “5 meter target” (at best) and never really understanding the real threats that loom at 50+ meters. Or as my Army sister, Cristine “Wheels” Gibney puts it…. “It’s all movement to contact!”

We will never get away from the Heads Down/Pencils Up way of life until we develop a vision for our life….or at least for our work, followed by some sort of strategy on how to get there.

This does not require a beautiful powerpoint slide or an official bullet background paper, but this does require some planning and time to think.

My good friend and leadership consultant Andy Christensen wants “50 by 50” his life purpose is to encourage and equip 50 world changers by the age of 50. …pretty solid…pretty simple…

I have been toying with “To be highly knowledgeable, capable and hungry in leading and supporting the people I live and work with and to lead others in powerful and effective uses of vision casting, strategy, and history.”

Still a work in progress… but its a thought…(no powerpoint yet)

What I am getting at is something Kevin Eikenberry blogged on yesterday… “Chin Up Leadership.”

Kevin noted…”As a leader, we must have the ability to see things from different and higher perspectives. You must look to the future, connect current work to the long-term strategy, and you must be able to survey the environment in which you and your team are operating.”

So if we can not get to a “life strategy” we still need something that will guide our tactical or daily life…our operational or career and finally our strategic or our life of impact.

What do you think? Could be too much Chick-fil-a?

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