The Executive’s Toolbox: The Personal Compass

Our personal compass is the warning system that signals how congruent our actions are with our principles.  When what we’re doing is incongruent it lets us know we’re on the wrong path.

Regardless of where we are on our executive journeys – at the beginning of our career, a CEO of a Fortune 100 company, or an entrepreneur who has enjoyed success by building her own company – taking the time to review our principles is a method of ensuring our compass is calibrated when we prepare for the next stage of success.

Conducting this type of review is extremely personal and nothing we need to share with anyone.  It’s a powerful tool to use when starting a new project or making a career changing decision.

The press constantly reports on business people who were at the top of their game who have lost everything in a scandal.  In some cases the person was backed into a corner and made a decision they justified based upon what they believed to be a necessity – followed by a slide down that slippery slope that leads to catastrophe.  In other cases, they may have lost connection to or just ignored their personal compass.

When we take the time to review our principles it strengthens our resolve not to violate them when they’re tested – and they will be tested.   The great part is that just the process of reviewing them resets your personal compass.  You can tell you’re on point by how you feel about what you’re doing.

Our personal compass signals us when we’re not honoring a personal principle by sending us a warning.  For me that’s typically a feeling in the pit of my stomach that lets me know what I’m about to do is against my principles.  Experience has taught me, as I’m sure it has you, that when I don’t pay attention to that feeling it’s a mistake.

Leah Ward-Lee is a management consultant and business writer based in Dallas, Texas and the author of $1,000 Start-Ups.  Her next book, The Executive’s Toolbox, will be released in early 2017.

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.


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