It feels like August” sighed the woman, while she settled down on a bench. At that moment we walked past her; we just completed a 15km walk in beautiful weather, uncommonly warm for a November day. Indeed it could have been an August afternoon, except for the amazing colors that we had seen during our walk. Only autumn can color nature in such a typical palette which is difficult to find in any other season.

This was in the middle of our vacation week on the island of Terschelling. The colors, the weather, and the environment presented some great opportunities to get lost in time while chasing sunsets and photo moments on the beaches. Our walks also provided a great time to reflect; reflect about personal matters, business progress, and change.

Taking that time to step back and to reflect on what you are doing, is essential to be able to successfully move forward. Whether it be in your personal life, or in your work, showing the leadership to press pause to reflect is imperative.

Successful leaders will have their own structure to assess what they are doing and how to move forward successfully. The essence for them is in the word ‘structure’; success requires a structural approach, a process, to attain success and to improve to become even more successful. That applies to every level of your business: for your success as a leader, for your business success, and for your success in collaborations and alliances with other businesses.

Structural reflection also asks for input from stakeholders in your work and your alliances. This is not about getting input about the past because the past is the past and cannot be changed. You need input about the future: about areas for change and improvement for the future. Marshall Goldsmith calls this feedforward instead of feedback.

Structural reflection is useless without an action plan to move forward. Otherwise, the intended change will get stuck like a New Years resolution. The whole process is most effective with guidance from someone who will help you set your action plan and who will hold you accountable for your implementation.

Being back from Terschelling, my refreshed action plan for change is in motion, and I’ve secured help from some of the best accountability partners.

When you are planning for your success in leadership, in business, or in alliances, think about the structure you are going to follow and about who is going to be your accountability partner to help you to achieve the success you aspire!

Enjoy your week!