Baking can be a great way to add spice to our personal and professional lives. Although we all may use basic ingredients like flour, sugar and salt in many of our cake recipes, we get to choose what else we want to throw in to create our unique leadership cake. Just thinking about the possibilities brings a big smile to my face and a “yummy” feeling throughout my body. Can you smell and taste your cake now?
Leaders and bakers actually have a great deal in common. Both get to start from scratch and build a structure that can withstand high temperatures. In each case, there can be obstacles put in their way like challenging projects with unrealistic expectations. Yet, leaders and bakers have control to decide the best way to proceed with the resources they have. The outcome is up to them and everyone else who they collaborate with.
So, what will you mix together to obtain the most flavorful leadership cake?
Five delicious ingredients to add to your leadership cake:
1. A Leadership Vision
A great first step to deciding on the ingredients for a leadership cake is to ask some essential questions to obtain a clear understanding of your leadership dessert. Some questions you may want to ask include:
- What’s the purpose of this cake?
- What’s important about this leadership cake?
- How will this cake help me grow my leadership journey?
- Where am I ultimately headed?
2. A Plan of Attack
Once we know why we are baking our cake, the next ingredient is formulating a recipe that will reflect our leadership vision. The recipe will include all the flavors and steps needed to create our unique dessert. That includes some measurements and timeframes and specifics. Choosing what our leadership cake will look like is the goal, and we can be as creative as we want. Make sure to establish step by step plans that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound(SMART).
3. Collaborators With Wisdom
The third ingredient is reaching out to the stakeholders that need to be involved in designing the leadership cake. It can be exciting to step outside of our comfort zone and think about who can be part of our support system. Remember to consider both past and current people from:
- Our job, company and team
- Past positions and organizations who touched our lives
- Volunteer situations
- Academic and schools we studied in
- Mentors or Coaches
An important ingredient to evaluate is whether the recipe may need any adjustments or tweaks to be even more delicious. Take a taste and savor all the luscious flavors in your mouth. Does it seem like the right balance of interesting and stretch assignments? Are we playing to our strengths and being given opportunities to share our gifts? Have we considered all the possibilities? What’s missing to make our leadership cake fabulous for our journey?
5. A Final Presentation
The final ingredient is showcasing our carefully designed leadership cake in just the right way. How will we promote our cake in order to have the ideal exposure? There is no one way to promote our unique dessert so here are a few possibilities:
- Share it in a team meeting.
- Have slices delivered to the important relationships in our lives.
- Set up a cake stand explaining the methodology used to create the leadership cake.
- Offer to help other colleagues and bosses bake their own special leadership cake to remind them of their magnificence.
What other ingredients would you add to bake your leadership cake?