Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Building Capacity For The Future

Nearly every strategic plan I have reviewed or helped write in the last 12 months has had a section on building capacity for the future. For some, this is based on the realization that key leaders have been, and will continue to retire. For others who are wanting to grow and expand their business, they have realized that they do not have the bench strength in place to support their strategic initiatives. Finally, some companies have realized that they can not continue to offer excellent service because they are loosing key people due to poor leadership. What ever the starting place, nearly every one wants more and better leaders. The difficulty is that few are willing to holistically understand the implications of such a commitment to the future.

First, wanting more and better leaders means that we have to understand that every organization has two operating systems running at the same time. The first is focused on operational excellence and the continual improvement of what already exists. The second operating system is about the on-going development, communication and implementation of strategy. It is the combination of both systems that makes a company viable over time.

However, the greatest challenge in the world of leadership training is that some people want leaders who will make the first operating system run better while others want leaders who can make the second one operate better.  A rare few want leaders who can work to improve both systems. The difficulty when building capacity for the future is that each form of leadership, operational and strategic, requires a very different skill set.  

For example, in the world of operational excellence, an individual who leads needs to be able to focus on short tern results, manage day to day details related to implementation, conserve company resources while being able to prioritize, plus maintain a certain level of consistency when it comes to systems and process discipline. In the later, strategic development and implementation, an individual who leads needs to position the organization for the future. Here, the leader needs to take the long view and maintain a big picture perspective. They need to seek ways to grow the business and expand the organization’s capabilities. They also must know how to question status quo and encourage new ways of thinking and working. In short, an operational leader needs to create an environment where people want to contribute while a strategic leader must paint a picture of the future and how to get there in a vivid and precise manner.

Second, if we are truly committed to building capacity for the future, then we must invest our time, energy and attention to doing this work. However, countless leaders report to me that they are overwhelmed by all they are doing. Time for things like mentoring, coaching and dialogue are taking a back seat to more pressing problems. They may desire doing more capacity building but often find they are simply too busy solving more pressing operational issues related to service delivery. Still, the problem is present and does not go away.

Nevertheless, there is a solution, namely the 2014 From Vision to Action Leadership Training. Through a challenging, interactive curriculum which blends lectures, selected readings, small and large group discussions, and how to skill-building exercises, participants in this four part leadership training gain critical knowledge and skills which improve their ability to be better operational and strategic leaders. Now is the time to sign people up for this unique and in-depth learning experience.  For more information on how to register for the 2014 From Vision to Action Leadership Training, please click on the following link: http://www.chartyourpath.com/VTA-Leadership-Training.html 

At this time period, building capacity for the future is mission critical to success. Having more and better leaders is vital. The 2014 From Vision to Action Leadership Training is an important first step to developing a whole new way of doing business. I look forward to you and your team participating in this special training opportunity in 2014.

Geery Howe, M.A. Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change Morning Star Associates 319 - 643 - 2257

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