It’s something we all need, particularly leaders. But it is not easy to maintain. The urgent demands of the day-to-day issues in business often deflect the attention of the leader away from the important to the urgent. It happens all the time. Yet, leaders are tasked to keep an eye on the horizon, creating a brighter tomorrow.

Most effective leaders we know have found a way to freshen their perspectives on a regular basis in order to fulfill their leadership responsibilities. Beleaguered leaders, allowing themselves to get mired down in the details of their businesses, are performing a disservice to themselves, and their business. Maintaining a fresh outlook, with a balanced perspective, is essential in today’s business environment.

We just completed our Fourteenth CEO Leadership Forum this past week. We always ask our panelists what they do to keep their perspective. Here is a typical response:

Exercise to manage stress and create meditation time. Read and research endlessly. I also belong to national organizations that promote idea sharing and we utilize industry consultants to base line us to the best in the industry as needed.

Effective leaders need to know where they are in juxtaposition to their competition, their strategic plan ….and their own abilities to perform. That takes real perspective. It’s the stuff success depends on. And it’s a big job. Being a continuous learner seems to be a constant ingredient with our panel members. That brings up the need to be continuously on the look-out for supportive reading material.

One of our good friends and colleagues, Dr. Bob Lorber, just co-authored a book that we are recommending to support the leaders’ quest for perspective. Bob and his associate, Dr. Mick Ukleja, have just had published this month Who Are You and What Do You Want – A Journey for the Best of Your Life. As leadership coaches, they have observed that once someone knows what their passions and values are, everything else seems to fall into place.

As a result, they developed an approach called 4-Dimensional Thinking, which they have been using for the past twenty-five years to help leaders get – and maintain – perspective. Each dimension offers a series of thought-provoking questions to help guide the reader to their own conclusions.

The First Dimension asks: Who are you and what do you want? Your answer can take you to the core of your personal strengths, passions and aspirations. You will see through any imagination gridlock that keeps you from going after your authentic goals.

The Second Dimension asks: Where are you and why are you there? You can create your own life map once you understand how you have arrived where you are right now. You can review your past choices, identify any faulty assumptions that have gone undetected and clarify positive approaches that are worth repeating.

The Third Dimension asks: What will you do and how will you do it? It’s great to dream, but whenever dreams collide with reality, reality always wins. This dimension offers you practical advice on goal-setting to ensure a more successful journey.

The Fourth Dimension asks: Who are your allies and how can they help? The relationships with family, loved ones, friends and co-workers are key in accomplishing your life goals. No one does anything leading to lasting satisfaction by him or herself. Identifying and aligning yourself with your allies is critical for lifelong success. This is a good check-up from the neck-up. Leaders need to check in from time to time just to see if they are on course. It’s essential to maintain perspective. So, a big thanks to Bob and Mick for their contribution.

Hal Johnson has been CEO of eight companies and has authored three books on business performance. He is Chairman/Co-founder of LeadershipOne, a business transition consulting firm. He may be reached at (916) 391-3042 or at [email protected].