Six Questions to See if Your Company is Prepared for the FutureOct 27, 2023
Welcome to Friday 411, issue #049. In 4 minutes, with 1 insight and 1 action, you’ll learn six questions that can help your company plan for and succeed in the future.
If you have a grand vision for the future of your organization, your plan for leadership development must be equally grand.
With the close of the year in sight, you, as a leader, should be switching your focus to the future, envisioning what you want to accomplish in 2024 and beyond. We hope you find it exciting to set aside time to think, dream, and plan. Even if you’re not a naturally-wired visionary, you must make future planning a priority. If you don’t regularly think about the future, it’s impossible to lead others well.
These six questions will help you plan for the future.
1. What is your vision for the next 3-10 years?
Vision is all about what you want to accomplish in a limited period of time.
The higher you go in leadership, the farther out you need to think.
- If you're a frontline manager, you might need to think 6-18 months out.
- Executive Leadership Teams of companies with 1,000 or more employees need to think and plan 3-10 years out.
Look at your business holistically. What goals do you want to accomplish regarding:
- Market Share
- Employee Retention
- Customer Satisfaction
Are you looking to scale? Are you trying to sell your company? How many new employees do you need to hire? Are there major projects you need to launch (or maintain) in the coming years? How are you impacting others through charitable giving?
When you put together the answers to these questions, you have your vision. The vision creates clarity regarding the highest priorities for your company.
2. How do you, as a leader, need to grow to accomplish that vision?
The bigger your vision is, the more you will need to upgrade your leadership. Focus your development on two areas:
- Where You Spend Your Time
Consider the type of work that you need to prioritize to accomplish the vision. As your company grows, you will spend less time on execution. Instead, you will concentrate on creating a healthy culture and keeping everyone focused on executing the vision. Are there commitments you need to give up or delegate so that you can shift where you spend your time?
- How You Grow Your Competencies
Once you know where you need to spend your time, it necessitates that you develop new skills and abilities. Ignoring your leadership incompetencies can stagnate your influence. These new skills could include improved decision-making and coaching of your direct reports.
Consider if there are:
- Books you can read?
- Conferences to attend?
- New habits to develop?
- Mentors who can shorten your learning curve?
3. How do your company’s current leaders need to grow to accomplish the vision?
In the second question, you identified how you need to grow. Your personal growth should overflow to everyone on your Leadership Team. Evaluate what kinds of development they need to accomplish the vision.
This question focuses on enhancing the quality of leaders you currently have.
4. What future leaders do you need to develop to accomplish the vision?
If your company is growing, you need to improve more than the quality of current leaders. You also need to increase the quantity of future leaders.
Think both positionally and personally. In other words, think about the leadership positions that you need to accomplish your vision and the people in your organization who have leadership potential for leadership.
Let’s say you lead a multi-billion-dollar company that you want to 2x in the next three years. Positionally, you might need two new VPs, 15 new regional leaders, and 80 new front-line managers. Then you need to identify the people already in your company who have high potential for future leadership roles.
If your vision is big, your vision for leadership development must be as well.
5. Do employees know what it means to lead in your company?
The word “leadership” is ubiquitous, so everyone has their own definition of what a leader is and does. If your company doesn’t have a shared definition of leadership and common characteristics for every leader, you will waste time arguing over who qualifies for leadership and waste resources developing the wrong people.
For more information on determining the traits of a leader at your company, see our article, “7 Leadership Characteristics that Solve 95% of Your Challenges.”
6. How will you develop the quality and quantity of leaders you need to accomplish the vision?
According to a study by the Association of Talent Development, 83% of companies believe they need more and better leaders. But 95% of companies have not implemented leadership development at all levels.
There are two primary reasons that companies don’t develop leaders:
(1) They don’t know how to develop leaders.
Being a good leader doesn’t mean that you know how to grow the mindset and abilities of other leaders.
(2) They don’t have enough time to develop leaders.
Developing leaders involves content creation, on-the-job training, resource development, learning how to deliver, etc. You don’t have time to develop all these skills before you start growing the leaders you need. You could hire staff to do it, but it normally takes 1-2 years for companies to develop in-house training programs.
At AdVance Leadership, we purpose to help companies develop the leaders they need to succeed. We have multiple decades of combined experience in cultivating leaders. We save you from the frustration of not having the knowledge or time to develop your leaders. We don’t simply focus on inspiring your leaders, but we utilize a suite of “ridiculously practical” tools to significantly upgrade their leadership skills. You can concentrate on becoming a better leader rather than focusing on creating a leadership program. Email us to talk about opportunities to develop the quality and quantity of your leaders.
Use these 6 questions to help you evaluate if your company is prepared for the future.
Want to unleash your leadership and help others do the same? Here are three ways we can help:
- Share this article with other leaders in your network.
- Contact us if your company wants help developing leaders.
- Get your copy of Gettin' (un)Busy, named by Forbes as "one of the books everyone on your team should read."