Manageable Guides

Expert views on topics relevant to all leaders and teams.

Minter Dial is a thought-leader, author, consultant and professional speaker on topics such as leadership, brand and digital strategy with a specialisation in digital transformation. Prior to this, he had an international career at L'Oréal, including being head of Redken Worldwide and on the Executive Committee worldwide of the L'Oréal Professional Products Division.

Hi, I'm Minter Dial, and I'm a professional speaker, consultant, author, and elevator. What I like to do is work with companies to help them define and activate their strategy. I also like to work with leadership teams to help them become leaders of the future. Within my Manageable Guide, what I want to do is help you to define your North Star, the direction that's going to help you navigate through difficult, challenging times. So if you're the kind of person that's struggling to deal with a very limited amount of time, that we have to do everything we have out there, then I've got news for you. This is about a direction, a compass, North, East, West and South. If you can work on a personal level, with your team, have the trust that you are on a journey together, then you're going to be better able to get over the obstacles that are stopping you from getting to your north as a team and as an individual. You are likely used to putting your action plans together as a team. But when you've done all this work, what happens is that you form a vocabulary, a vocabulary of actions, the way you communicate, and behave together as a team. And once that happens, you end up having more energy within your team. I'm Minter Dial, and this is my Manageable Guide to finding your North.

So let's start with our North, the N in news. Finding a North is all about having a direction, a direction that helps you to choose through the filter of where you want to go between your limited resources that you have. By moving from a broad north, to a more precise North, it allows you to say 'no' to so many things that come up, because there's so many choices out there, right? And how do you decide what are your strategic imperatives? We all have this general idea of what we want to do. We have a good idea of our North, but my encouragement right now is to focus in on finding your North before you need to have some near death experience or tragedy that makes you zero in on what matters. When you do find your North, here's what happens: it gives you back energy. Because you know why you're doing what you're doing. Day in, day out. One of my favourite exercises for finding my North and helping you to find your North, is to imagine a distant time in the future, really far out that you can't even imagine how it's going to be, for example, in 20 or 25 years. And then imagine yourself celebrating that birthday.

But imagine having at your birthday table, five people whose opinion you deeply respect, and then imagine what they would say as they celebrate your birthday. Then, when you have those five sentences, each in their voice, that becomes the raw material from which you can create your North Star. One of the things when you're working on your North is evidently to think about your own personal North, and also the North of you, your team. The thing you need to figure out is how they overlap, and you need to figure out how to spend time on your own personal North. But then as an organisation, with your team or with your brand, what is the north of that company, and you can do the same exercise and focus on who you are and what you want your legacy to be. Once you figured out that North for your team, for your organisation, then just make sure that there's an overlap between your own North and the North of your company. That's where the magic lies.

Once you've found your North, then it's time to look at your East. Finding your East is all about your values and coming up with the three that matter most to you. So once you've done the sorting through that long list of values, it's really useful to work with your team to come up with a set of behaviours that qualify that value. Let's say that you choose innovation as a value for you, your team, your company. Innovation can be about making the best product and service. But sometimes for others you can innovate in all manner of capacity within your organisation. For example in manufacturing you can innovate and be more creative in the way you do your copy style. So, the key for you is to figure out how innovation fits for you and what are the behaviours that go around that. Once you have your values fixed, and you understand the behaviours that qualify them, then what happens is you'll find, of course, that you will coalesce around them.

The very beginning, it'll be difficult to formulate and work through it together. But after time, it'll become your natural way of being and that is when you make and create a strong culture because once you find those values, they should describe why this North is important for you and your team. When you look at the South, it's thinking about what's stopping you from achieving your North. "Oh, I can't possibly get to this North because I don't have enough money to do it. I can't possibly be this person, because I don't have the degree to do it." So the work down South is sometimes about understanding whether you have limiting beliefs that really don't need to exist. When it comes to dealing with yourself, an exercise you can do with your team is to brainstorm. What are the things that are stopping us? Of course once you really defined and articulated that North, it's much easier to see what are the things stopping us, which allows you then to allocate your resources more definitively, more efficiently in order to achieve your North. And when you come up on an obstacle that's difficult, well, then that's the work that you must do together as a team. Once you undo those limiting beliefs, then you're now free to move West.

Once you've done that work, now let's figure out our plan of action. The glory is when once you have that precise idea of your North, you know why it's important to you, you know how you're going to overcome the obstacles and get there, then it makes it so much simpler to figure out the plan of action that's going to work. You have timelines, responsibility, the roles are clear for everybody. Then you just have to do and that's something we all love to do. But it's once you understand who you want to be that it becomes a stronger West.

There are three things that I want to leave you with. The first is, find the time, take the time to do this exercise, it may be hard work, but if you take the time, you'll find in the end, that you will save time and you will also garner extra energy. The second thing I urge you to do is make it personal. Yes, it's professional, but you need to lean into it because at the end of the day, it's our personal energy, it's our own time that we're doing. It's only by having personal relationships that you will really foster trust in your team. And the third thing I have for you is to make sure that some part of every day, you're doing something that matters and that relates into your North.

Sometimes I like to colour in green in my agenda, what it it that's helping me do and be my North every day. That way I can visualise how much of my week I've actually spent really intentionally on being the person I want to be and building the company and team that I want to have. When you have new people coming in and you're growing and expanding, you need to double down and make sure that in your hiring process your North and your values are solicited. A part of the recruitment questions that you ask of candidates should be do they subscribe to these values? Then you will power through and create a successful, sustainable business that you've always dreamed about. I'm Minter Dial and this is my Manageable Guide to finding your North.