Cover your assets
Did you know that the prime directive for every leader is to create other leaders?
Well, it makes absolute sense, doesn’t it? We may be all that the organization needs right now but nothing ever stays the same – everything changes over time. At some point in the future we’re going to need fresh, new leadership! We’ll also need to know that the organization’s future will be secure. With this in mind, let’s consider our options. We could leave it to chance, hoping that the right person will emerge when the time is right and there’ll be a seamless transition. Alternatively, we could anticipate the likely scenarios for the future and begin to look at our needed resources today.
There’s a strong possibility that there’s no one who’s a clear and outstanding candidate for future leadership if only because future scenarios are not crystal clear and compelling. There could well be a need for ‘wiggle room’; we may need to hedge our bets. It is obvious though that we should do something to increase the likely quality of our future options. The question is what?
Most of us, at this point will jump ahead to the obvious strategy of teaching potential leaders about our business, the industry we’re in and something about today’s market forces. This makes good sense because it’s difficult to lead an organization if you don’t know the context of its business. May I suggest however that this is premature?
There are three areas for mastery before anyone can respond intelligently to the challenges of running an organization today or in the future; these are
- strategy – how to create and implement it
- relationships – how to develop and sustain them, and
- principles – how to use them to build confidence and trust.
Without these three foundation blocks, we could be in the position of knowing what needs to happen but yet be almost powerless to make it a reality. Learning how to achieve within these three areas while attempting to get on top of today’s business at the same time is akin to trying to board a train as it’s hurtling down the track at high speed. So, select your potential leaders in the light of your possible future needs and then objectively assess their foundational capabilities in each of the three vital areas. You probably still have time and opportunity to develop their competence and confidence before the critical hour arrives.
Do this and you will not lie awake in the wee small hours worrying about tomorrow’s challenges; you’ll have ‘insurance’ and the peace of mind that intelligent preparation brings.
The future is in your hands!
David Huggins MASc, FIoD, CMS is an experienced behavioral scientist and executive coach who’s dedicated to bringing out the best in individuals and groups. His insights and direct contributions have taken business leaders to elevated dimensions in performance. He can be reached through his websites at www.andros.org and www.polarisprogram.com