As you reflect back on the year past and set new goals for the year ahead, it may be time to also reframe your mindset. To shift from striving for success, to making purposeful progress.

Why? The first clue comes from the very definition of success – “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” While striving for success is typically associated with reaching a goal or an endpoint, as many successful leaders discover, ultimately it’s more about purpose and direction.

However it goes further than the timeless principle of the importance of the journey versus the destination. In this far more connected and less predictable business environment, leaders are having to adopt a new mindset. To evolve from the fixed mindsets of excellence and efficiency to a flexible mindset of innovation and agility.

In days past strategy could be set annually, with leaders dictating the best course of action. However what’s needed now is a far more flexible and iterative approach to strategic planning, with an agile and inclusive approach to leadership decision-making.

This more open style of leadership is highlighted by a new generation of CEOs, such as Microsoft’s Satya Nadella. As he recently commented when reflecting on the year just past, a flexible mindset is critical to achieving impact. That it’s far better to be a “learn-it-all” than a “know-it-all.”

As many leaders like to quote, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Which in a world of big data would seem to be more apt than ever. Except that it’s only half the wisdom. As the missing part of the quote counters, “Not everything that matters can be measured.”

So as you reflect back, don’t focus just on what you successfully achieved. Instead try asking: What mattered most?

Go further: Watch (32 min) as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gives insight into his leadership mindshift at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJDLive Conference 2016.

Go faster: Skip to 3:35 min in and watch (just 3 min) to learn why he’s no longer aiming for excellence in 2017. “Early success is probably the worst thing that can happen in life...”


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