Leadership chart

I cannot believe that it’s been a week since I attended the CMO Summit at the Legal Marketing Association’s annual conference featuring Leonardo Inghilleri. Leadership can’t be taught in five hours, you need five days or more to take a deep dive. That said, what a great program. It’s an unspoken rule to not live-tweet the CMO Summit, so I did not, but I’d like to touch on a few things.

My first take-away, for LMA, is that this is a great opportunity for us to create a new online education program for our current and future leaders. Leadership is lacking in law firms, law firm marketing departments, and everything we touch. There is a void. There is a need. Fill it. (Is that direct enough??)

My second take-away is that leaders cannot lead if they don’t know where they are going. Even if you have an idea of where you are going, how are you going to get there without a guiding, moral compass?

Your compass is your personal mission statement. You have one, right? If not, I cannot underestimate the value of having one. If  you don’t have one, you’re probably wondering, “What the hell is that, and how do you create one?”

Here’s an easy exercise; start by writing a short paragraph on each of these:

  1. What do you want to be known for (personal)?
  2. What are your core relationships (family and closest friends)?
  3. What do you want to be know for professionally (work)?
  4. What are your contributions to the community (societal)?
  5. What is your relationship with your higher power (spiritual)?

Once you complete the exercise you will be able to craft your personal mission statement. Mine looks something like this:

Do well by doing good. Be present and mindful. Give without expectation of receiving.

With my personal mission statement, I’m able to traverse some bumpy roads. I’m able to course correct. Leaders lead those who want to be lead. I would hope that my moral compass is enough to attract those who want to walk with me along my path.

A few final takeaways:

  • Choose to become a student of leadership; it’s a lifelong process. You don’t take a class, get a certificate, and move on. I didn’t take my first course in leadership until my late 40s. I had been leading for years, based on my intuition. It wasn’t until I participated in a course on leadership that I turned my intuition into intentional. Sitting in the session yesterday I was able to reinforce 1. Wow. I do/did know that; 2. That’s interesting. I can add that to my toolbox.
  • Look for your opportunities to lead daily, at home, with your friends and family, at work, and in your community.
  • Don’t wait for “your turn.” Looking around the room last week I saw my peers. But more importantly, I saw the next generation of CMOs and leaders. I love the Millennial moxie that allows them to sit comfortably with those of us who have been at this for a couple decades or more. They have earned their seat by taking on the challenge. And this GenXer is excited to welcome them on board.