IPMA Lesson: Lead a Life of Significance
Last month's In-plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) conference was packed with great sessions that offered a wealth of managerial advice. In a keynote on the first day of the conference, leadership speaker Pete Smith presented a framework of six pillars to guide one toward leading a life of significance:
- Always a choice: If you remove “I don’t have a choice” from your vocabulary you will recognize that while you may not like your choices, you always have one. Choices are not made for you; you make them. Choice alone, though, does not change your life. It needs to be followed by action.
- Rooted in identity: Think about what you are known for, what your purpose is and what you stand for. Gaining clarity in who you are brings confidence in who you are not, and knowing who you are will drive your behavior and feelings, rather than your feelings driving your actions and identity. By focusing first on who you choose to be, you get to influence what you do and the results you create, which is more empowering. Deciding who you are is critical to living significantly. Knowing your purpose is what motivates you and gives your life meaning. After choosing your stand, the next step is living it, which Smith called your “why” and your “what.” Your stand is the reason you do something, with the intent of getting results that align with what you want to produce.
- Address the fear: While fear can protect you, it can also keep you confined to what you are comfortable with. By not taking risks you can miss opportunities. In order to move past your fears, develop a context for them, which will then help you understand the nature of your fears and appreciate them.
- Let it go: Choose to let go of resentment, shame, anger, guilt, and envy. These things just offer resistance and weigh you down. If you lose these feelings, you can focus on what matters most.
- Embrace the crazy: Pursue things that others think are crazy like burning your battleships to eliminate the ability to retreat or firing a competent employee with a bad attitude. He asked the audience if they have the guts to go forward when others step back. You need to have the guts to start, he said, and the “grind” to persist and finish.
- Impact on others: You don’t have to be a leader or celebrity to influence or mentor others, Smith stressed. Living purposefully can make a difference in the lives of others, not just ourselves and not just one person.
Smith gave examples of how leading a life of significance can lead to increased productivity, better decisions, effective leadership, positive culture, higher performance, elevated engagement, better communication and deeper relationships. He left the audience with the challenge to choose what they will do next to “matter more.
Elisha Kasinskas is Rochester Software Associates’ (RSA) award-winning marketing director. She is responsible for all marketing, public relations, social media and communications, and community building for the firm. Ms. Kasinskas joined RSA in 2010. She is a marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience in sales, product management and marketing in leading product and service business-to-business and business-to-consumer firms, including Pinnacle (Birds Eye) Foods, Level 3, HSBC, and a number of regional high-tech firms. She holds an RIT MBA and a BS, Marketing from Radford University. Kasinskas is a frequent moderator for industry speaking sessions, an in-plant blogger, and has received industry awards including the IPMA Outstanding Contributor award. She was an OutputLinks Women of Distinction class of ’15 inductee. Her marketing work with IPMA has secured multiple awards from the American Marketing Association (AMA).