Several years ago I received one of the most meaningful compliments of my consulting career. As we were wrapping up a long-term strategy consulting engagement, a nonprofit customer said to me, “Karla, one of the things I appreciate about you is that you show up.” In essence, he said:
- You are present with us
- You care
- You speak up on our behalf
Over the years I’ve learned that showing up and being fully present in the moment requires a good amount of preparation. In all engagements, I purposefully:
- Picture in my mind how I can best connect with the people and the organization in the moment
- Consider their dilemmas and concerns
- Anticipate how I can best serve them as a strategic leader, often giving voice to the thorny issue, the unspoken aspiration or the brutal truth
I’ve found that I’m at my best – whether I’m wearing my Corona CEO hat or my strategic consulting hat – when I’m intentional about showing up at my best for the given situation. I’m attuned to listen, respond, reflect and refine. My strategic brain is poised for the “ah ha moment.” That’s when the magic happens and I feel I’ve done something profound.
How are you showing up? When are you the best strategic leader you can be?