Think about it. You show up in every job you do. You create the results you do. You develop the relationships you do. And, I’m betting that there are structural elements that make up the best-of-you. You just may not be as aware of how that platform is constructed. Once clear, you may find new ways to light up the stage. Along with the concept, I’ll share my own platform with you today.
A Personal Strategic Platform is Your Guide to Success
I have been framing and re-framing my Personal Strategic Platform for the last 35 years. That platform guides my thinking about current and future work focus. It states what I care about, my unique contribution, and how I want my “audience” to receive me and my work.
Your Platform is Your Own Construction
You are the only one who can determine your platform. And, you do so by simply answering a bunch of hard questions. Actually the questions are only hard if you haven’t thought about them before, or you have many different patterns or desires that have been rumbling around for awhile.
1. What do you want to be known for in your work-life?
Your platform starts with a clear purpose (i.e., reason for existing, etc.) for your contribution. My purpose has always wavered around “helping people create remarkable results–exactly what they desire” in one shape or another for many, many years. I know exactly what that means to me. The form my actual job or role takes has changed significantly, yet my purpose has been the same.
2. What are your underlying beliefs that shape your approach?
Beliefs about work, career, and contribution create the ground for your platform. Your beliefs will likely evolve, but if you’ve worked for ten years or more, you probably have some that consistently support your success. A few of my core beliefs include:
- People matter. Actually, it’s all about the people.
- Anything is possible. Not the woo-woo kind of possibility, but the “we can make things happen” possibility.
- Perfect is not possible. In so much of leadership, we must keep a balance and forgiveness for not-possible.
Yes, the second belief doesn’t exactly fit with the third, but that’s the way human reality works sometimes.
3. What strength or patterns of action are imbedded in your way of operating?
On stage, we perform. In our work, we have strengths for which we are “known.” This set of strengths are not the laundry list of skills and ability. These are ones that people associate with you in particular. The ones you know have helped you be successful. For me, a few keys ones include:
- Working hard. I am smart, but I have always gotten my grades by working hard.
- Observant and thoughtful about people. Not casually, rather taking the task seriously and enjoying the work.
- Non-judgmental. Certainly not always in my personal or professional life, but I can bring non-judgment to my work and clients.
4. How will your audience receive you?
Imagine the audience in front of the stage filled with the people for whom you make the most difference. For what do they clap? What do they say about you at the intermission? I’ll tell you two reactions I hear from clients that I’m honored to imbed in my platform.
- You really understand me.
- I know you truly support me.
These two are most prominent in my client feedback. Sometimes I wish clients would say how creative and brilliant I am. But, I’ve come to understand the power of these two experiences in how much they create for themselves.
Put Your Platform to Work
You Personal Strategic Platform is different than a career plan. It’s not a performance plan. And, it’s definitely not a job description. But, you can use the platform to:
- Consider approaching a key result differently to take advantage of your best.
- Ignore the nay-sayers to your style of working; maybe their platform takes a different structure than yours.
- Think deeply about your desired learning plan. What learning or further mastery will truly enhance your platform?
- Imagine how to expand or change roles to be at your personal strategic best?
Ultimately, we are declaring our “highest and best use” in the work at hand. My platform could be realized in many job forms: 3rd grade teacher, high school guidance counselor, psychologist, consultant, HR leader, etc. Right now, I choose the executive coach role.
Reflect on the four questions above. Ask a trusted advisor. And, bring new self-awareness or clarity to the platform on which you want to stand.