Three Leadership Keys to Sustainability

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Leadership is complex and exponentially evolving. There are many rules but there is no guarantee that they all work or whether one will work in circumstance A but not B. However, you cannot afford to negate the so-called rules of leadership – or can you?

In discussions about the qualities of great leaders, there are three elements that are often overlooked as you determine success in one’s personal life, success in one’s management of others and success in creating a sustainable future for one’s company.

Nothing happens by accident or by coincidence. Even an accident didn’t happen by accident. Everything happens as a result of the choices you make, the thoughts you have, the words you use or the actions you take — or fail to take.

Three elements create a leadership strategy

Things happen because you have created a plan with a strategy — or you failed to plan. Leaders make huge commitments to the future that demand time, skills and a strategy. In reality, it is all about the strategy. As a leader grows, the little-known strategy that is crucial to success is that strength comes from these three elements; commitment, discernment and wisdom.

Commitment, discernment and wisdom with a touch of flexibility are alarmingly absent in the world today, whether in the home, relationships or the workplace.

  • Commitment – knowing what is important and moving in that direction at all times
  • Discernment – being flexible when interruptions are important enough to move your focus elsewhere
  • Wisdom – knowing which issue should take precedence

These attributes, when turned into a daily strategy, are key to being fully engaged, maximizing focus and creating an environment conducive to success.

How to incorporate a leadership sustainability strategy

  • Honor your commitment. Create an environment conducive to commitment success by setting aside the time you need to execute your commitments under ideal conditions. However, plan wisely and be sure to set aside time for multi-tasking and interruptions because you know they will occur.
  • Inform peers and associates that you need specific focus time for a certain number of hours per day and would appreciate their help in you reaching your objective. At the same time, set up specific interruption times. They can be the last 10 minutes of each hour or half hour, or perhaps time segments twice per day to deal with necessary but non-urgent issues.
  • By actually scheduling such time, colleagues will be less likely to interrupt you and you will be more productive – and so will they. The only other time you should be interrupted is for an urgent matter which involves your discernment.

Discernment includes many interruptions. Interruptions come in many shapes, forms and sizes. Discernment and flexibility are key to being successful when it comes to interruptions. The more you train yourself to discern the urgent versus the important, the more productive you will be and and the more sustainable your organization. To provide you productive commitment time:

  • Turn off all electronic equipment. This includes your cell phone, the e-mail received sound on your computer announcing that you have mail, all social media and any other devices that may interrupt you. There are untold hours of productivity lost and errors made due the interruptions via electronic equipment and social media.
  • Control personal tweets, Facebook time and texting. They are the greatest distractors of all. Social media should be relegated to off hours along with non-urgent family interruptions. Emergencies should always be an exception.

When interrupted, discern whether the matter is urgent or if it can wait. If it can be dealt with later, do so. If not, be flexible, perhaps providing a quick one sentence response, until you can devote more attention to the matter. Be firm with your commitment but flexible enough to take action, which is wisdom.

Wisdom – good sense shown through judgment. Life is always a balancing act between focusing on fulfilling your commitments or being flexible enough to discern what distraction is important enough to temporarily put your commitment on hold. Wisdom knows the difference. Accomplishing commitments and creating sustainability come from focus and a quiet space where you aren’t interrupted often so don’t you have to shift gears mentally, causing a major break in your focus on your commitment.

This threesome, commitment, discernment and wisdom, can guarantee success. Without them, the result is at minimum poor performance and worst case scenario, failure. Why do they work? They work because they reduce chaos and minimize distractions, thereby reducing stress while increasing productivity, performance and sustainability.


Download “Three Leadership Keys to Sustainability” in PDF Format.

© Pat Heydlauff, all rights reserved 2016

Pat Heydlauff, a “flow of focus” expert, speaker and consultant designs workplace environments that fuel the flow of focus, maximizes productivity and yields future sustainability. She is author of the forthcoming book, Focus • Connect • Regenerate 7 Ways to Lead and Fuel Sustainability and published books, Feng Shui, So Easy a Child Can Do It, The Way We Go, Your Roadmap to a Better Future and Selling Your Home with a Competitive Edge. Contact her at 561-408-2708 or


About the Author:

Pat Heydlauff speaks from experience. She creates environments that engage and focus your workforce. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Engage, Unleash the Power of Focus and published books, Feng Shui, So Easy a Child Can Do It and Selling Your Home with a Competitive Edge, and can be reached at 561-408-2708 or