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Making the most of our now with your vision for the team’s bright future

Posted by Cliff Locks On February 24, 2021 at 10:04 am

Making the most of our now with your vision for the team’s bright future

We felt like we could reach out and touch the stars.

A few years ago, my family and I went stargazing in a remote location. Without city lights to obscure our view, every tiny dot of brilliance shone crystal clear. As we looked through the telescope, we were awestruck by the countless stars and swirls of the Milky Way. In that moment, we felt connected to something bigger than ourselves.

The future is bright

Contributor: Gary Burnison, Korn Ferry, CEO, with insights from Cliff Locks, Investment Capital Growth, Managing Director

Today, we all need this same cosmic shift in perspective. When we look through the eyepiece of a telescope, what is distant suddenly zooms closer. But if we look through the wrong end of the telescope, things shrink away from us.

We need to ask ourselves, which end of the telescope are we looking through?

That question is more important than ever. A survey of global professionals conducted by Korn Ferry told a shocking story: 60% of respondents said stress, boredom, and sadness best describe their mood. Obviously understandable, for sure. We are connected, yet isolated—hopeful, yet numb. Maybe part of the problem is actually the lens we’re looking through.

Ironically, it’s the glimmers of hope that make us impatient. With every piece of “good news”—cases declining, some people receiving the vaccine—we just want it to be over. It’s like when you’re on a long road trip and the last 50 miles drag endlessly.

As paradoxical as it may sound, when nothing seems to be progressing, we actually can make the most progress! When everything appears unchanged externally, we experience tremendous growth internally. When things seem so far away, they are much closer than they appear. When we clearly see just how far we’ve come, we appreciate more fully just how capable we’ve become. And it all happens in a moment.

I’ll never forget when I got that call a few years ago. It came out of nowhere—and yet it really wasn’t a surprise. As soon as I heard my cousin’s voice, telling me my uncle wasn’t doing well, there was no mistaking her meaning. I was on my way to New York on business and immediately got on a connecting flight to Kansas to see my uncle one more time. When I arrived at the nursing home, I instantly saw just how frail he had become.

He knew and I knew—but we let it be the unspoken truth. It was just my uncle and me in that small room. My uncle was one of the strongest people I knew, and there he was—smiling at me. The last thing I wanted to do was break down in front of him. And so, I didn’t think about the days ahead or what would come next. Embracing the moment was all that mattered.

We reminisced about old times. My uncle had worked at the local oil refinery and had remodeled my aunt’s house himself—everything from the framing to the plumbing. He had taught me how to fish. Even though my eyes misted as I gave him one last hug, I felt far more gratitude than sadness. As I left the nursing home and stepped out into that hot Kansas sun, I finally let my tears flow.

Today, despite sporadic green shoots all around us, we still must embrace this moment before we can own the next. Here are some thoughts:
• Our existential moment. Over the past year, companies and even entire industries have transformed. It has happened on a personal level, too—and to all of us. Everyone has stories. “Who we are in February 2021 is not the same as who we were in March 2020,” Bryan Ackermann, Managing Partner of Korn Ferry’s Global Leadership and Professional Development Practice, told me this week. If we’re not self-aware, we can lose our perspective on just where we are. “Are we still in the old world or in the new world? Do we have a foot in some weird hybrid of both?” Bryan commented. These questions can be a welcome opportunity to continually shift our focus to the bigger picture of what we value, how we find meaning, and who we want to become.

• The neutral zone. Even as we look ahead with optimism, the reality is we’re not quite there yet. We’re in transition—moving through a neutral zone—from one place (physical, mental, emotional) to the next. “We’re like trapeze artists, flying through the air ungrounded,” David Dotlich, PhD, a CEO and Board advisor and a senior leader at Korn Ferry, said “We can’t make the next trapeze appear automatically. We have to wait for it. And as it approaches, we have to let go of the old trapeze so we can reach for the new one.” Being “up in the air” can feel uncomfortable. But in that instant, we develop the courage and creativity that will bring us closer to whatever comes next.

• Making the most of our “now.” We have a choice of what we see: obstacles or opportunities. When Christina Gold, former CEO of Western Union and a member of several boards, including ours, started out in her career, there were few opportunities for women. As she related to me, her first job out of college was counting coupons for the local grocery store—at a time when a man with a college degree could easily land a supervisory position. Her break came when she was hired by Avon as an inventory clerk. Christina went on to a series of firsts in her career, but always made the most of the here and now—which led to the top spot at Western Union. “I never thought of what I faced as being obstacles,” Christina told me. In other words, her attitude was her altitude.

Look up, look out, look forward. The signs of hope that had once seemed as unreachable as the most distant star are suddenly within our grasp. Indeed, we can see the future—but only if we ground ourselves in this moment.

Success is measured by what you and your team accomplish towards fulfilling your strategic goals, ensuring they are aligned with the company’s vision of success.

Let’s work together on creating the tools:

  1. Develop a One-Page Strategic Plan.
  2. Set the top company priorities.
  3. Create clear, measurable objectives.
  4. Use one-on-one check-ins with your team members.
  5. Maintain an ongoing feedback loop with early corrective action and positive praise.

Cliff Locks is a trusted confidant to CEOs, C-Level Exec, and high-potential employees to help them clarify goals, unlock their potential, and create actionable strategic plans.

Available to join your Board as a Certified Master Professional Board of Director and Advisor.

I am a trusted confidant and advisor available by Zoom and by phone to be your right-hand man, who will make a significant contribution and impact on your way to success.

As a Trusted Confidant Advisor, I support you, along with your company’s strategic and annual operating plan. This plan may include marketing, sales, product development, supply chain, hiring policies, compensation, benefits, performance management, and succession planning.

Most successful leaders enjoy talking to someone about their experiences, which is why most develop a close relationship with a Trusted Confidant—a person with whom they feel free to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas without fear of sharing too much or being judged by the people they lead, or their colleagues and superiors. I am a sounding board who will help you to better develop and see your ideas through to fruition.

The most effective Executive find confidants who complement their strengths and sharpen their effectiveness. Bill Gates uses Steve Ballmer in this way; Warren Buffett turns to vice chairman Charlie Munger. In the end, both the Executive and their organizations benefit from these relationships.

As your trusted confidant, I am always by your side, holding your deepest secrets and never judging. Everything discussed is held in complete confidence.

What many executives feel is missing from their busy life is a trusted business person who understands the holistic complexity of both their business and personal life.

I strive to provide solid financial, business, and family expertise and serve as a dispassionate sounding board, a role I like to call “Executive Confidant.”

By holding a safe place for the Executive to work on life path issues as well as direction, I repeatedly see remarkable benefits as personal values become integrated with wealth and family decisions, enhancing a more meaningful life.

As an Executive Confidant, I welcome a confidential conversation about the most important issues facing the business leader, including:

• Strategic planning toward your visions of success and goal setting • Operations, planning, and execution • Career transition • Retirement • Legacy • Kids and money • Marriage and divorce • Health concerns • Values and life purpose • Vacations • Mentoring & depth of the executive bench • Succession planning

When I do my job well, I facilitate positive action in both your professional and personal life. This consistently has a positive benefit on impacting people within the sphere of your influence.

The job of an Executive can be lonely. For various reasons, confiding in colleagues, company associates, family members, or friends presents complications. Powerful, successful, and wealthy individuals often isolate themselves as a protective reaction because of their inability to find people they can trust and confide in.

Successful people are often surrounded by many people, yet they insulate and isolate themselves to varying levels of degree. This isolation factor is not often discussed in the same context because the assumption is that success and wealth only solve problems. The false belief is that it does not create more problems, when, in fact, sometimes it creates a unique set of new challenges. Success and wealth do not insulate you from the same pitfalls that the everyday person faces. It may give you access to better solutions perhaps, and that is what I can help you achieve. Financial business success can create unique vulnerabilities, often overlooked as most people feel that the “problems” of the wealthy are not real-life problems.

The Executive Confidant can be particularly helpful when:

• Aligning life priorities with the responsibilities of wealth. • Wanting more meaning and purpose in life. • Desiring a candid and experienced perspective. • The answers often come from within, and we cannot arrive at them easily. • Clarity often comes into focus, with skilled questions and guided discovery. The right questions can be the first step in achieving ideal outcomes.

Who can you turn to when you need to find clarity? Who is your “Executive Confidant”?

Referrals to a team members or family members are always welcome.


One-to-One – Individual payment: Strategic Coaching: $295 per month (weekly for 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the depth of our conversation Zoom meeting).

One-to-One – Corporate payment:
i. Coaching & Leadership Development: $600 per month engagement (weekly 1 hour Zoom meeting).
ii. One-to-One Executive Coaching and Mentoring: $600 per month engagement (weekly 1 hour Zoom meeting).
iii. Increasing Top Team Performance and 1:1 Mentoring Sessions: $600 per month engagement (weekly 1 hour Zoom meeting).
iv. Planning New Futures for Senior Executives: $600 per month engagement (weekly 1 hour Zoom meeting).

Team coaching:
i. Enhancing Boardroom Effectiveness & Executive Impact Group: Starting at $15,250 per annual engagement.
ii. Strategic & Operational Planning/KPI Development: Starting at $25,500 per annual engagement.
iii. Productivity Assessment & Profitability Improvement: Starting at $25,250 per annual engagement.
iv. Sales Channel and Product Development: Starting at $25,250 per annual engagement.
v. Energy and Sustainability Efficiency Initiatives: Starting at $18,500 per annual engagement.

Board of Directors or Board of Advisors:

Email me: [email protected] or Schedule a call: Cliff Locks OptimizeLife #CEO #CFO #COO #BoD #CXO #Professionalpedia #TeamBuilder #success #beyourself #goals #lifeisgood #Influencer #Successful #Business #WorkLife #OfficeLife #Work #Office #Inspiration #Marketing #Tips #Leadership #BusinessIntelligence #InvestmentCapitalGrowth

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