Today, 3×5 Leadership turns two years old. Though I never really expected anyone beyond my wife and my mom to read my thoughts on this blog, I started it to share my lessons learned from my experiences and education; my experiences may be singular, but the lessons from them certainly are not. In time, I’ve learned that my blogging has become a critical means of personal reflection, which has ultimately made me a better leader. I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to contribute to our community of practice over the last two years and I look forward to doing so still in the years to come.
So, first, thank you all for your continued support. One year ago today, 3×5 Leadership had 100 subscribers. Over this past year, our subscriber community has grown to almost 1,300 and we surpassed the 100,000 views threshold. I’m certainly not motivated by, nor do I do this for the numbers, but it is humbling to know that this platform has had some sort of impact on a few other people. So, again, thank you for your support.
Key Theme From 2018
Year two of 3×5 Leadership focused a lot on self-development. Before we can effectively develop other leaders, we need to build our own capacity to develop ourselves and our own leadership. This includes establishing personal habits focused on improving our learning about effective leadership, committing our new knowledge to practice, and reflecting on those experiences to cultivate lessons learned for improved future application.
There are a few select 3×5 Leadership series and posts from the last year that most impactfully addressed leaders’ self-development, providing actionable ideas to build those particular personal leader habits to improve your own learning and developing. Ultimately, these aim to improve your ability to develop those habits in other leaders in your own organizations.
- 168 Series: How different leader developers use their available 168 hours each week to learn and grow as leaders through self-development. This series reveals that self-development must be deliberate, supported by habits and choices of how you use your time as a leader. It is not a passive afterthought.
- Leaders are Readers Series: How you can maximize the impact of reading toward your own self-development. Jocko Willink, author of Extreme Ownership, stated, “I’ve been mentored by some of the best leaders in the history of the world because I read the stuff they wrote.” Leaders are learners…and leaders are readers.
- Reflection Series: This series defined this nebulous concept of “reflection” and introduced actionable ideas on how leaders can materialize this critical learning tool in their own routine habits.
- Recommended Apps to Support Your Self-Development: Addresses digital apps that I’ve found most useful in enabling my learning as a leader.
- What Tools Are You Using for Your Leader Growth: Provides a method on how leaders can best use their leader notebooks (green notebooks for the US Army types) to contribute to their learning through daily experiences.
Your Challenge: A Call to Action
Moving into 3×5 Leadership’s third year writing about leadership and leader development, I offer three challenges to our community of supporters.
- Share 3×5 Leadership with your colleagues and friends! I don’t propose this as a means to build the brand or the blog’s numbers at all. I do this to encourage people to have deliberate conversations about leadership. We often become so overwhelmed by the daily requirements of work and life, that we never afford ourselves the opportunity to talk about leadership, the time to deliberately develop other leaders, or collaborate about what we’re learning in our own self-development efforts. By sharing what you read and learn from 3×5 Leadership posts, you at least create a small opportunity to talk to someone else about leadership. Encourage them to subscribe so they can also have an outlet to engage in self-development each week.
- Connect with the leader development community online. Beyond following 3×5 Leadership on Facebook and Twitter, I encourage others to check out the 3×5 Leadership Facebook Group. The group exists to allow leaders to interact with one another.
- Collaborate! The Facebook Group is designed to let fellow followers to collaborate with one another. I encourage you to share a question, thought, what you’re learning, or how implementing a certain idea from 3×5 Leadership went for you. And as always, Twitter is a great platform for that as well.
What’s Next for Year Three
I’m excited to kick off our third year in 2019 by transitioning from self-development to leader development! The more I experience, the more I’m learning how holistic this concept of “leader development” truly is. Many organizations espouse fostering a successful leader development program, but a program, though important to support a culture of deliberate leader development, is only a small sliver of the “leader development pie.”
Leader development must be woven into every component and action of an organization. In our rapidly evolving, complex, and digitally inter-connected environments, leaders need to leverage diverse and creative touchpoints to develop the leaders around them. I look forward to try to capture and share what I’ve learned in a “holistic organizational approach to leader development,” focusing on application – giving leaders actual tools and behaviors that they can adapt to their own people and context, rather than merely regurgitating theory.
My Favorite Posts From 2018
I wanted to end this anniversary post, first, by saying thank you again. It is humbling to learn how this modest resource has helped others improve the leader and leader development capacities in other organizations.
Second, I want to share my personal favorite posts from the last year. These posts are not necessarily the most popular posts, but the ones I am most proud of. Check them out if you have not yet!
- Character: The Necessary, Yet Often Ignored, Trait to Define Leaders of the 21st Century
- Do All Things with Energy and Optimism, a guest post by my very good friend, Tom Correll
- You Need a Peer Coach to Become a Better Leader
- Discipline Through Accountability and Enforcing Standards
- The Reflection Series; this is on my favorites list because I continue to struggle in finding helpful resources that teach us how to actually materialize reflection in our daily lives. This is far from an academic piece about the art and science of reflection, but it took years-worth of personal practice to learn these lessons. I’m glad I was finally able to attempt to capture it all in writing.
Here’s to the next year of leader development! Cheers.
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