Gain Control of your Future by Creating it
As business leaders we have to gain control of our future by creating it, not being pushed around by it. We have to make clear what our organization stands for and maintain accountable for our future. Successful leaders understand that leading change in today’s organizations depends to a large extent on creating resilience and flexibility in dealing with the future. We must not wait for miracles to happen or things to get better; we have to create the future on our own terms.
“My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.” ~ Charles Kettering
The role of leadership is to create a future of possibilities for our organizations through an evolving business model – one distinctly different from the past. We must not be hindered by the inability of letting go of the past and not seeing what is possible and what is in front of us, because we are too busy holding on to what was behind us.
Strong leaders quest endlessly for new opportunities to expand; they do not accept the limits of existing products and existing markets. The spirit of innovation keeps fresh ideas flowing and reinvigorates us. We must move towards the future we want, not just react to a present-day reality we don’t like. We must grab hold of it, bring it into the present, and then go about creating it.
“Seizing the initiative can make all the difference between winning and losing.” ~ Thomas Davis III
Without a future vision, resources are underutilized, our organizational purpose is unfulfilled, and individual energy can be misdirected. A growth attitude is essential in order to overcome the stagnation of operations and the complacency that naturally occurs.
Many business leaders are only focused on survival and management of the day to day, but if we want to lead our businesses into the future, we must have a vision and think strategically about the future. Without knowing where we are, we are unable to deal with the changes that are needed to move to the next level of success. We must focus on improving efficiency and effectiveness of our current activities and reflect on improvements. We should ask ourselves these very basic questions:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to go?
- How do we get there?
Until we know the answers to the questions, it will always be an uphill struggle, but when we know the answers, everything else will fall into place.
The road is not as hard or as long when we know where we are going. Remember the old saying – “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”. We must clearly articulate where we are going and why, to have the best chance for success.
The key is to look inside ourselves and our company. In any business, there are clues, often subtle, both internal and external to help guide future direction and to identify opportunities. Creating business foresight and strategy with a long-term view – will be essential to success. Monitoring future trends and new profit opportunities will come from organizations that see the future first and become ready, while anticipating and evolving before the competition does.
We must create our own roadmap and we have to start with a vision. To be clear, a vision is not a strategic plan. It is quite simply a picture of what success will be at a particular time in the future. Our vision articulates where we are going; the strategic plan tells us how we’re actually going to get there. We must ask ourselves if we have both a vision and a strategy. We must think about our vision for our future and really know what we want to achieve.
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” ~ Jack Welch
To dramatically change our business:
- We must decide what our company’s ideal future looks like
- Determine what qualities we need to attain it
- Understand the steps that are needed to bring the desired outcome
Without such a plan, we will have nothing concrete to run towards and we would have to be content to stay where we are. We should take our time planning and working on the issues, challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. We must have clearly defined and focused milestones and goals. And these must be subject to frequent review to ensure our thinking is validated.
We must take control of our future and accept responsibility for the choices we need to make. Either we are in this for the long haul or we might as well throw in the towel right now. We can sit back and hope that everything will work out; or we take direct action and do whatever it takes to reach our vision of success.
Jamie Wood, Avatel EVP
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