Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Create Leaders Before You Need Them

Summer is a time to ponder the future.

It is a time to think beyond today’s challenges and to reflect on what the world will be like over the next two to three years. It is a time to ask such questions as “What will our customers expect of us in the future that they are not getting right now?” Or “How will the world be different and what impact will it have on our company?” Finally, “What new products or technology could potentially surface in the next 24 months that would significantly threaten the way we do business?”

Rest assured the world will change.

Customers will have new needs and new expectations. Generational differences will continue to emerge. The way we do business today will not be the way we do business in the future. The critical issue for us this summer is to determine whether or not we will be prepared and have the capacity to execute effectively given all of these possibilities.

Summer also is a time to think about leadership.

We all know we will need the right people on the right seats on the bus, referencing Jim Collin’s book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap. . . and Others Don't. HarperBusiness, 2001. We also know we will need to occasionally help the right people change to a new seat on the bus that better meets the needs of the company and the individual. Sometimes we may even need to stop the bus so the wrong people can get off. But from my perspective, this summer we must begin thinking about how to develop the right people so we can have better capacity on the bus.

This summer we need to create more leaders before we need them.

These individuals need to have a strategic mindset and understand the importance of mission, vision and core values. They need to know how successful companies work on the operational and strategic levels. They need to value alignment, understand strategic change, and effectively coach people and groom talent.

We also need to be better leaders ourselves.

Kevin Cashman in his book, Leadership From The Inside Out: Becoming a Leader for Life, Berrett-Koehler, 2008, shares research on poor interpersonal skills done by the Saratoga Institute who interviewed 19,700 exiting employees and their bosses. They discovered that 85% of bosses said that former employees left for more compensation and opportunity. However, 80% of the exiting employees said they left because of poor relationships, poor development and poor coaching from their boss. Making the time to build healthier work relationships plus improve development and coaching will have a major impact on the recruitment and retention of key people, today and in the future.

So, starting today, we need to plan ahead and think who should be groomed for the future.

One way to do this is to map out who will be participating in the 2012 From Vision to Action Leadership Training ( http://www.chartyourpath.com/VTA-Training-Details.html ) and the Fall 2011 From Vision to Action Executive Roundtable (http://www.chartyourpath.com/pdf/2011-From-Vision-To-Action-Exec-Roundtable-Regist.pdf). When you are ready, e-mail me today and reserve a spot for yourself and your key people.

It is never too early to plan for the future. As we all know, it will be different than today.

Geery Howe, M.A.Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer inLeadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational ChangeMorning Star Associates319 - 643 - 2257

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