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You 2.0 Could Be on the Horizon

| May 30, 2023

by Justin Sipher

Today’s Tuesday Reading is from Justin Sipher, Program Leader, Leadership Coach and Consultant at MOR Associates. Justin may be reached at [email protected] or via LinkedIn.

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. – Lewis Carroll

We have all heard this phrase related to having a plan.  Whether it’s in our personal or professional aspirations, it’s ideal to know where we are going.  I’ve used it recently with my son who just graduated college, which I am sure I am not alone in.  I used it on myself when deciding to launch a major career transition five years ago.  Today I am NOT using it with respect to major life or career milestones, instead this quote came to mind when thinking about developing ourselves.  Our growth, or deciding where and how to grow, can also be a road to a destination instead of aimlessly wandering.  In fact, being intentional in our development SHOULD BE our expectation.

At a workshop late in 2022 we were challenging the cohort members to apply a “stretch and challenge” mindset to their growth in leadership abilities.  We used the metaphor of YOU 2.0 as a way of suggesting that growth can be transformational, can be a game-changer on one’s journey.  At that time my brain went back to my earlier technology days and thinking about software versions.  In other words what differentiated a software going from version 1.0 to 1.0.1 vs 1.1 vs 2.0.

I like the software version number analogy as it so clearly sets expectations when an upgrade surfaces.  In my recollection the variations are along the lines of:

  • 1.0.1 is an upgrade largely around a bug fix, or a simple fix for something that was overlooked in development.  Fixes are great, but not transformational in the use of the product.  Also, rarely does a version upgrade this minimal represent new abilities or core functionality.
  • 1.1 represents not only a fix, but perhaps a new feature that aligns with the core abilities of version 1.0.  Not transformational, but a “nice to have” ability could surface in a version change like this.  There is nothing wrong with 1.1 as it represents incremental change and resulting improvement, however is that really what we want for the long term?
  • 2.0 is normally reserved for a major upgrade in function & user experience, as well as the minor tweaks that would come from version 1.0.1 and version 1.1.  Version 2.0 is associated with hard work that has been invested over time and finally surfaces in a way that significantly elevates the expectation of the user.  A major version number upgrade should set the expectation of game-changing abilities.

So software version #’s work for me, and can connect us with how we think about and track our own growth in abilities.  If there is an aspect of your leadership which you want and  need to improve to elevate your impact, then consider where you are at now as You 1.0. Now think about that Desired Future State.  Don’t settle, have it really be a transformation.  This is your 2.0 “version” you should set sight on.

Now that you know where you are going, you need to have the road that will get you there. The task at hand is charting the course. This includes determining the practices you need to adopt, and stick with, to form the habits that will be the basis of You 2.0.  It’s also where coaching and peer accountability can be of great assistance.  Even world-class athletes have trainers and coaches.  Why?  Because truly pushing yourself outside your comfort zone is not easy without the right motivation and accountability.  In fact, getting beyond our comfort zone has layers to it.  The first layer is often fearful.  Not sure how it will go, often we immediately want to retreat back inside our comfort zone.  If we can get through that initial discomfort, we start to learn new skills and approaches while gaining some confidence.  The final layer is where we achieve growth.  Growth is where we set new expectations of ourselves. I hope that growth in ability is where you are aspiring.

Here is what I suggest:

  1. Find the support you need and be vulnerable
  2. Determine the next steps to put into practice
  3. Create a framework of accountability so that these practices become habit
  4. Use reflection as a means of learning through this change
  5. Don’t settle for small progress, continue to push forward

Stretch and challenge yourself.  Determine your Desired Future State.  Put the work into getting there.  Then once you reach “You 2.0” acknowledge your accomplishment, appreciate what the growth has done for you, then get back at it.  You 3.0 is right around the corner.

Last week we asked about comfort with the space in-between the “old” and the “new.”

  • 12% said very comfortable – I thrive in-between
  • 32% said comfortable
  • 24% said neutral
  • 26% said uncomfortable
  • 6% said Yuck! Get me away from the in-between

Compared to prior weeks’ surveys, this appears one of the topics we are collectively least comfortable with, the space in-between.  Half of us are neutral or uncomfortable, 44% of us having some degree of comfort, and about one in sixteen of us feel it is just plain yucky.  As distinguish last week, this is not about the situational change in our environment, it is about the psychological trainsition and self-redefinition.  That is difficult yet critical work for each of us to learn and grow as leaders.  This week’s reading builds on this idea, challenging us to not just think about a “minor bug fix” version of transition, but the major game-changing update.  What does You 2.0 look like and what steps can you begin this week on the journey to get there?