Brian Cavanagh CONSULTING

Leadership Lessons – The Value of Reflection

As a leader, there is going to be a time when you will to decide to remain or move on. Making that choice can be challenging. So how exactly do you make such a choice?

I faced a similar turning point more than a decade ago. I was the chair of a large NHS board, a position I was reappointed to. However, about halfway into my second term, I realised that I was in a repetitive rut. I’d led a substantial service change, something that I took a lot of pride in, but the slow change of pace within the health service was frustrating for me. And frankly, I found some of the political posturing around health, distracting and at times toxic. It forced me to think about whether this was still the right role for me. I decided that it was not and resigned. On reflection, I left too early. I allowed my frustration to influence my choice without thinking through what next should look like. I was clear about the goals for the organisation but less clear my own goals and ambitions.

Since then, I have used that experience to help leaders in similar positions. Working as a trusted adviser and mentor, I am struck by how many leaders have lots of ambitious goals for their organisations, but little of that for themselves. So I have created a process I like to call a “personal ambition plan,” which can aid leaders in evaluating and establishing their future paths. It allows you to develop their own personal goals about what they want and whether your existing position meets them or not. And if not, what you need to do to bring these goals to fruition.

So, if you are in this position, develop your own personal ambition plan to help you make the best choice possible for your future.