At this year’s Global Leadership Summit, I had the opportunity to learn from Deb Liu, the President and CEO of Ancestry.com. Prior to coming to Ancestry, Liu was a senior executive at Facebook, where she created and led Facebook Marketplace (you might have heard of that), and where she led the development of Facebook’s first mobile ad product for apps and its mobile ad network. Here are some of my takeaways from her talk:

  • When we talk about power, sometimes we tend to think of it as a dirty word. But it’s not. Power is simply the ability to influence or direct the behavior of others or the course of events around you.
  • It’s the infatuation with or misuse of power that we should fear.
  • Find the “you shaped hole” in the world for what you alone bring.
  • Instead of thinking “why me?” ask “why NOT me?”
  • Success isn’t about never failing, but about taking the lessons from that failure and propelling yourself forward. (a teachable spirit!)
  • There are four types of allies: mentors, sponsors, teams, and circles
    • Mentors are teachers. They share their experience with you and give you direction when it’s needed.
    • Sponsors open doors for you. They provide visibility and access to you. They see your potential, and they invest in you to help you realize it.
    • Your team shares your vision and works at your side to make it a reality. Together you can accomplish more than each of you can alone. Their skillsets complement yours.
    • Your circle are the people whose lives intersect with yours. They are your family and friends, your cheer section outside of work, the people who know you best. They applaud when you succeed, and they hold you up when the going gets tough.
  • When you’re on your own, you have to be strong on your own. But when you have allies, your strength multiplies.

Such a powerful and inspiring talk! I love the model of four types of allies. Here are my questions and challenges for you as you consider this:

Who are your mentors? And who are you mentoring? (Both take intentionality!)

Who are your sponsors? And who are you sponsoring?

Who are your team members? How are you intentionally complementing their skillsets, and how are they complementing yours?

Who’s in your circle? And how are you adding value back to them?

You can intentionally and purposefully build each of these. Do not fall into the trap of saying, “well, one day when I’m further along / more successful / have more time, then I will mentor, sponsor, and cheer others on. If you’re not intentionally building it now, you won’t then. Start this week.

I want to multiply my strength as a leader. And I want you to multiply yours. That’s why I coach leaders to INTENTIONALLY grow and thrive.

What’s your next step today?

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