Six Ways to Courageously Build the Future Today
By Ann Elliott
Every day leadership is a balancing act. You are always trying to keep the appropriate tension between building for the future and serving clients today. Focusing on the future while meeting the demands of the day can be challenging. The opportunity lies in knowing what people want, understanding how much they are willing to pay and finding ways to deliver it at less cost but with quality that brings customers back again and again.
Losing site of the need for both, the long term and the short term, puts the organization at risk. Too much emphasis on the future and the important day to day things take a back seat only to come back later as a crisis. Neglecting the future undermines the long-term success and creates missed opportunities, especially in a changing environment.
It takes a team
It is unusual for one person to possess all the skills required to take an organization from inception to long term success. A team of people with diverse skills, innovative ideas, and different talents significantly improve the chance for success for the long term.
For instance, the founder who stays on too long with a need to control every facet of the business hamstrings the business for future, healthy growth. The next leader finds it difficult to steer the organization in a new direction and to implement new procedures. Often the transfer of leadership falters and the organization suffers needlessly.
Completing a cathedral and building a company
In the Middle Ages it took hundreds of years and multi generations of masons, plumbers, carpenters, artists, and others to complete a cathedral. Can we assume they were building a magnificent structure to serve a lofty purpose? Keeping the appropriate tension between building for the future and serving clients and customers in the now is the opportunity for leaders in the 21st century. Great leaders also understand the importance of meeting the needs of employees inside the organization. When employees feel respected and appreciated, they treat customers the same way.
Leadership checks egos at the door. It is about the team, people, and customers first. It is leading to serve others.
Your success depends on these guidelines
~~Craft a clear, compelling vision
~~Enroll people who have a passion for the vision
~~Hire people who have diverse experiences, talents, and skills
~~Provide products and or services to meet the needs of your customers
~~Make is psychologically safe to make a mistake and to be vulnerable
~~Acknowledge the whole person (head and heart) shows up to work
The courage to build for the future and to meet the demands of today is a balanacing act. It takes humility. While it brings out the best in us, it tests our mettle. Not only is it challenging it can be exhilarating.
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