Systems Inspired Leadership with Personal Branding

My latest sprint had a theme of Systems Inspired Leadership (SIL). One of my main goals was to compose a workshop on this topic, but I also wanted to explore how SIL could help with my personal branding.

Explainer Video – Improvements with Systems Inspired Leadership

First, some context. Every 3 weeks I create a new explainer video on what The Infinite Loops is, which demonstrates my learning and growth through this process. Let’s review the videos and then I’ll dig into some lessons you can apply to your own personal practice.

Video Explainer #1
Video Explainer #2

What is the data on how these performed?

  • Doubled my impressions in just 24 hours
  • Had 22 engagements (#2) vs 6 (#1)
  • Note, this post came with an announcement of a career change, so it is more likely to get a more extreme level of engagement vs any other post

My assessment of the improvements:

  1. Communicated value and purpose more effectively
  2. Told a story that brought them through the presentation
  3. Showed my face, making it more personal and engaging
  4. Connected it to action & purpose (I’m looking for work), thus creating action on Linkedin for people to help/support

How can Systems Inspired Leadership be applied to personal branding?

Systems Inspired Leadership (by Frank Uit de Weerd and Marita Fridjhon) is about looking at a system as a complex network of individuals. With personal branding, your system is about the network of people that support you in your career journey. If you are considering a career change or marketing your services, you can take things to the next level by identifying the Relationship System that supports you and create a strategy for how to leverage it.

Identify the roles of your system and ask for help

For me it was supporters, content advisors, career advisors, and perspective advisors. I created a post laying it out in more simple terms, but it became one of my top performing posts. People want to help, and by asking them what role they can play, they will naturally respond. Remember, roles are owned by the system but individuals are part of the relationship system. That means once individuals occupy those roles, you need to really consider the identity of that group that starts to surface. 

Relationship system charting for personal branding under systems inspired leadership

Understand your own identity and make it shine

For personal branding, the system is about you. The roles you need to be filled, the actions that need to be taken, and the pathway to emergence is about your identity. How can you more clearly communicate it to those who are a part of your system? The goals with personal branding are (for the most part) about evolving your career. That means you have to have a clear sense of where you want to go and how people help you get there. Things must be personal, honest, and clear.

Find your edges

Because you are at the epicenter of the system, it provides a rare opportunity to get a first person view on when edges will happen. Edges are moments of conflict or stress that are breaking points into a new future of what it wants to be. A great example, particularly in personal branding, is feeling anxiety. Feelings of not being good enough, of not getting enough done, of making a bad decision and messing up your life forever. All these thoughts happen because you are trying to evolve into your next stage of being. When you feel those things it’s a signal to go, “Wait! I need to dig into this!” Reflect with questions like:

  1. What is happening? Is there a metaphor for this?
  2. Where is this coming from? What am I becoming aware of?
  3. What do I want to have happen, that is achievable?
  4. Do I have a plan in place? If not, what can I do to get me on track?

One of my more powerful lessons was to make an agreement with myself that when I felt anxiety, I needed to stop what I was doing to meditate for 5 minutes, and then work on an action plan of things I felt uncertain about. If it lingered, I would pull one of my supporters or advisors in to talk through my state and plan to get feedback. After all, it always returns to being systems led. Create processes and understand the system that will support you.

Thanks for joining me on this journey. Subscribe on YouTube to get pinged when the next loop comes out.

Sprint Planning

Welcome to the loop.

How to set goals and achieve them.

The Infinite Loops.

It was a Friday night and I felt incredibly anxious out of of nowhere. “What if my blog sucks?!” 

There are a lot of studies and dialogue these days around Imposter Syndrome. There is also a cultural underpinning that things must be perfect – from the way we create an Instagram feed of the ideal persona to the image we craft in our professional careers. I realized at that moment that I was going against what I really believed and had been striving towards for the past decade of my career: Continuous Improvement. The results of how to set goals and achieve them by breaking it down into smaller components. Your success comes through the process, even if that means that you miss a goal but redefine it to get yourself back on track. Just keep on going and do not quit.

I wanted to write about the process of change, and to work with the community on celebrating that journey. Life isn’t the perfect staged photograph we allow to represent us and what we are communicating. It is the grit of trying, failing, achieving, learning, and growing. 

Examples of Goal Statements

I created 2 resources/posts that I am going to put into the process of continuous improvement: budget planning and goal planning. My blog will show be a behind the scenes look at the strategy & the path to performance gains. It will invite guests from various industries to weigh in. We will not only create additional resources through that narrative, but be able to showcase the evolution of refined work visually and through data. If you are looking to set goals and achieve them, follow this blog to see a true process through pushing through to success. It’s going to be gritty and it’s going to be meta.

Welcome to The Infinite Loop. Let’s get started.

Goals of My Goals

I have a lot of ideas on where we can take this, but to form a strategy I need to make some goals. What do I want to achieve?

  • Show the process and effort of improving work/craft to inspire others to find their voice in cultivating change through small improvements in their organizations.
  • Work in a community setting to bring diverse perspectives and expertise on technical and strategic elements.
  • Create pride, confidence, and resources for all levels of experience to start on an idea they have, ideally inspiring women and other minority groups that struggle with getting started.
  • Create a product that reaches peak performance and then know when to end the infinite loop or create more products that serve the community in a different way.

Alright! We got ourselves a vision. These points are closer to a mission statement than to goals though. It’s a target, but if it’s reading like a limitless possibility, it’s not getting me closer to achieve something in the short term. This is where goals come in, and goals need to be SMART.

  • Create a list of categories of improvement for the resources contained in the blog along with a defined ranking system to determine priority over the initial 6 months.
  • Create 1-2 posts/week that touch on a revolving list of topic categories (above) which each bring an improvement to the core resource. Core resource needs to have updates visually documented over time to showcase improvements/progress.
  • Collaborate with a guest 1-2 times/month regarding technical expertise in one of the defined categories that also contribute to an improvement of the resource. 
  • Grow a following and exposure over 6 months that brings an average view count of 1000 visitors/post. Reconstruct goals, categories, and the product at the 6 month mark to be adaptive to the user base at that point.

These are clear examples of goal statements.

Up to this point, I wrote the post as inspiration was hitting me. What happened over the next couple days was even more excitement, more doubt, a wave a courage, more doubt, courage. After all, doubt comes from fear and then excuses start being made. For example, when I moved on to some of my next planning stages in strategy and structure, I found there is an oversaturation in the market for keywords around the elements that make up continuous improvement. I’ll be talking through that in more detail later, but the point now is how incredibly common it is to second guess yourself when crafting your goals into reality.

In order to make it work and to keep pushing ahead, I simply refocused on what I was trying to achieve: the experience. I’m not attempting to make a million dollar company, I am challenging myself to try something new. In some ways it is a work of art for me in combination of a social experiment. I will have the opportunity to collaborate with others and learn even more through the process. How great is that?!