Last week I went on a Leadership Challenge Workshop.  It was a combined review of 360˚ feedback from customers, peers and managers, and exercises based on the work of Kouzes & Posner.   The feedback was largely positive, although I learned that I haven’t been communicating enough, something that I’ve heard from blog readers too, and I agree.  So I have resolved to resume blogging regularly. 

The best of the exercises was an assignment to write a personal credo.  It starts with a thought experiment that you will be on a six-month sabbatical, incommunicado, and need to provide operating principles to guide colleagues’ decisions while you’re gone.  Here’s what I wrote:

We win by delivering the best, most obvious, most approachable customer value.  We need to focus first on growing our market, by making the economic value of Application Lifecycle Management – our product category – obvious to all customers.  Only second should we worry about our explicit competitors. 

Don’t confuse competitors’ claims with customers’ needs.  Measure customer needs in customers’ own words and make sure they see our vision and participate in the choice of what we do.

Our reach should exceed our grasp.  We need to envision more than we can do, and we need to carefully choose which parts to do. 

Work iteratively.  We won’t ever know everything.  We’ll do what we’re most certain about first.  At the same time, we’ll keep a stack rank of priorities, and a list of hypotheses, and regularly revisit, revise and rerank them. 

Nothing succeeds like success.  Successful execution both proves our vision and prevents our digression into less valuable activities. 

Our success depends on our partners’ success.  We cannot possibly satisfy all of our customers’ needs, therefore we need to focus on the core services that only we can provide, and enable our partners to extend and complete our joint offering.

We are a team.  We learn from each other other’s wisdom and insight across every level.  Everyone on our team has something to say and contribute.  That’s why they’re here.  We are also a team of teams.  As we scale up, we need to make extra effort to draw on the same strengths of our colleagues who are one or two steps removed.

Look out the window, not in the mirror.  No matter how successful we are, the world changes faster than our awareness of the change.  Let’s keep our eyes on horizon and act on what we see.

So thanks to everyone who has pushed me to write.  In my next piece, I’ll share some thoughts on requirements, a pretty hot subject at the moment.