This past week I had the opportunity to attend a two-day conference in Seattle featuring renowned Designed to Lead co-author Kevin Peck. Peck's vocational roles include developing leaders across two continents--if anyone knows practical leadership tools, it's this guy. 

The conference was full of organizational development and leadership wisdom. Here are the top three things I learned from Peck that you can immediately put into place in your life or organization.

1. Recognize that Every Problem is a Leadership Problem

We tend to think of problems primarily as issues to be fixed, but Peck rightly pointed out that every problem is due to a failure or lack of leadership. You may think you have a logistics problem or a product issue, but the primary way that those problems are corrected is through finding the right leaders. Your time is limited; spend it finding the right leaders.

Key Takeaway: Recognize problems as a leader deficiency or a lack of necessary leadership skills in you or your team. If you approach problems with this mindset then you'll deal with it differently than seeing it as (primarily) an issue that needs to be "fixed." Instead of spending your limited time trying to solve every problem, find the right person to fix it. 

2. Every Leader (Including You) Needs the Right Environment to Flourish


Peck had us consider leadership from an agricultural perspective:

"Different people need different types of environments in order to flourish."

Peck shared that, "if you put someone in the wrong garden then you might kill the plant or not get the fruit you wanted" so allow people, including yourself, to work in the place where you get inspired, focused, and effective.

Key Takeaway: Write down the answers to these questions: Where do I produce my best work? Where does my team (volunteers, co-workers, family) do their best work? Once you have those answers then advocate for yourself--work where you flow. If you lead a team, encourage your people to do the same. 

3. Define Your Outcome Before You Start

You may have a simple list of goals or complex multi-year KPIs, but, in any endeavor, you should clearly articulate where you are hoping to go and what you are hoping to achieve.  

At the end of the day, Peck entreated us, "What are you trying to do?" 

Key Takeaway: Set aside two hours on your calendar to go to your right environment (see #2) and write out exactly where you are hoping to land and what you are trying to accomplish in your life, a project, your family, a work team, or a goal. A clearly defined goal will allow you to stake out your clear next steps and ensure that you reach the right destination.

I would highly recommend that you purchase Kevin Peck's book, Designed to Lead, and continue to grow in your leadership and organizational development skills.

I was not asked or compensated to provide this recommendation or review.