Both my husband and my father have dabbled in real estate investment over the years. The elements of finding the right type of property, the best deal, the most advantageous terms and then the most fitting tenants is a fascinating (and, at times, frustrating) process to witness.
But discovering a property, having a vision for how it can be improved and utilized long-term, and then putting resources into seeing that vision come to fruition can be extremely gratifying...not to mention profitable. That is the goal, at least. The entire process is not unlike the leadership investments we have the opportunity to make each day.
An investment, by definition, has a cost. It’s taking something you value and placing it on the line in order to gain that which is worth even more to you. It’s knowing what is worth letting go of in the short-term for what will pay off in the future. Investing well requires patience and persistence. And it’s being willing to calculate and mitigate the risks and costs involved so that we invest wisely.
To invest wisely, we must count the costs. And then we must courageously step forward.
Here are 3 things that investing well will cost you (and why it’s still worth the sacrifice.)
- Your Time
There aren’t many things of lasting value in the world that don't take time. But if you’re like me, often the “tyranny of the urgent” can distract us from prioritizing the wisest investments. What I’ve found is that blocking time on my calendar is the best way to ensure those priorities become actions. Any item on your to-do list that is worth your time, needs minutes assigned to it on your calendar. It’s an additional step, but one that is well worth it.
Warren Buffet once told an interviewer, "By far the best investment you can make is in yourself." Whatever ways you prefer to invest in your own leadership development, schedule them. If it’s reading, that deserves a dedicated block of time. If it’s a change of venue from the office in order to do strategic or creative planning, make it a non-negotiable quarterly half day and schedule it before the whirlwind begins making demands of you. I often say, “Lead yourself well in order to lead others better.” Self-leadership and time management go hand-in-hand.
Take a moment this week to conduct a calendar audit. What’s on your to-do list that isn’t making it to your calendar? Where are you allocating time that could be better spent on higher priorities? Are you making time for rest, inspiration and connection (all aspects of staying a healthy leader for the long-haul)?
- Your Energy
Any worthwhile investment will demand energy from you. And what is worth the biggest investment of your leadership energy? People. They are the only aspect of your leadership that bears the image of God. Leading people is sacred work. To invest in and develop those you’ve been entrusted to lead means noticing and calling out their unique gifts and talents, intuiting where they can grow and where their efforts can best serve the mission of your organization, and being willing to engage challenging conversations in order to catalyze them toward the best version of themselves (especially when they don’t see it yet.)
This means one-on-one meetings that you prepare for rather than react to. It involves asking more questions and listening more intently to the answers. It requires you to follow up and follow through in advocating for their growth.
As you consider the individuals you lead, what is one intentional step you can take with each of them that is a worthwhile investment of your energy?
- Your Resources
Investing in your own health as a leader and, in turn, staying intentional to develop those you lead will inevitably involve literal costs, not just figurative ones. The truth is we put our resources toward what matters to us. It is crucial to have not only a plan for leadership development for your team, but to also have a budget to fund that plan.
And the great news is that, through the magic of the internet, there are so many cost-effective ways to invest in ourselves and others. Whether it’s webinars, courses, coaching, podcasts, or books, the key to any lasting return on investment is application and accountability. It’s not enough to simply consume information. Carve out space to make a plan for how to implement new learnings. Then follow up to see how the experiment turns out.
It’s as simple as adding 2 questions to your next staff meeting agenda:
1. What are you learning?
2. How are you going to apply that in your role?
With these considerations in mind, I hope you’ll find that the investments you are making with your time, energy, and resources begin to yield the type of returns that reflect what matters most to you. I’m confident that you will.
Keep leading well!