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What Do You Want Next Year? (#71)

The Confident Leader

In a recent edition of the Dallas Business Journal, the section entitled “People On the Move” which highlights those who have taken new positions, was not the typical one section but four different sections each with double the usual number of people. This was tangible visible evidence of the Great Resignation, something leaders who lost talent this year did not want. It got me wondering, what else do leaders NOT want? 

Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.
— Maya Angelou (Poet)

This Week’s Edition

If leaders are clear on what they don’t want: loss of talent, inflation, supply chain issues, this begs the question, what do you want?

Clarify Your Thinking

The fourth quarter is a time for planning for the coming year. However, many leaders are still trying to finish 2021. In addition, most of the leaders I encounter are exhausted and overwhelmed making it very difficult to think about the future.

One leader described her situation as “a tidal wave chasing me.”  Another confessed, “typically I’m a caring leader, but I feel so numb to my circumstances I’m not able to muster anything that even looks like care. That’s a problem!”

These factors are causing leaders to question whether any leadership move they take will make a difference. As a result, they doubt next year will be any different. This current thinking does not set them up to envision what is truly possible for next year.

New Thinking: I have a lot of information about how to lead in a pandemic. I can harness that hard fought wisdom and make different leadership decisions going forward. 

Thoughts Lead to Actions

A new year offers the opportunity to establish your vision for your organization – where do you want your organization to be in the future. This question elevates your thinking beyond day-to-day challenges. 

I once asked a leader, “Bret, what do you want?” 

He proceeded to say, “Robin, I don’t want clients who don’t appreciate me. I don’t want to work with people who I don’t like.” 

I looked at him and said, “Bret, respectfully that was not the question. I didn’t ask you what you don’t want. I asked you what you do want.” 

He said, “Oh… good question. I don’t know.” His response was typical of leaders who spend their days fighting fires. They are well aware of the things in their leadership life they don’t want. Switching to what they do want can be challenging. 

Training our thinking on what we don’t want does not moving us closer to solving our challenges; however, sometimes it is a great place to start. Purging our brain by making a list of our challenges (what we don’t want) frees our mind to begin thinking about what we do want. 

Here is a simple way to begin the process of creating a vision for your organization in 2022 and beyond. On a sheet of paper, make three columns, and fill each column with the following: 

  1. Column One: Make a list of what you DON’T want (one item per line). Make the list as long as is needed.

  2. Column Two: Identify what you DO want (one item per line next to each item you don’t want).

  3. Column Three: List what you already have in your organization or your leadership regarding the thing you DO want.


  1. I DON’T WANT revenue to shrink again next year.

  2. I WANT to increase revenue by 17% in 2022.

  3. I HAVE a solid base of recurring clients, a firm foundation on which to attract new clients.

Our lives are filled with things we don’t want. Use those experiences to identify what you do want.


Boost Your Performance

I recently worked through this exercise with a group of leaders all of whom left feeling more energized, hopeful and effective as they unlocked new ways of thinking about their present challenges and what is possible in 2022. Watch this week’s video to see how simple, yet powerful, a vision exercise can be.

What’s Your Opinion?

Share with me what you DO want at:

Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

If this was helpful, feel free to share it with another leader who needs to defeat doubt and complete their confidence.

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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.

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