Caught Up in Your Own Business

It’s the end of the year. There’s so much going on. Finalizing budgets, planning for 2015, updating your forecasts, managing people. You’re busy doing. Busy, busy, busy.

That’s great – you’re getting stuff done. But it begs the question: With all these things happening, have you taken the time to demonstrate visionary leadership? Does your team really know where they are going? Have you articulated the direction – the vision – of where the company and team are headed?

That’s what distinguishes a leader from a manager. Being forward-looking. Envisioning. Exciting and enlisting others in a shared view of the future.

More often than not, people in leadership positions got there because they produce results – they get things done. They’ve been buried in their offices managing, reviewing, and doing. Caught up in their own business of the business.

So…How do leaders develop a forward-looking capacity?

  1. You have to want to. I know, it sounds a little too obvious. What got you to the position of leadership is tried and true. The typical management activities are familiar and probably habit by now. But, what would happen if you changed some of those habits? It may be uncomfortable, but it’s worth it to become more forward-looking and envisioning.
  2. Make the time. You have to carve time out of your urgent and endless business that you are accustomed to. Make it a priority to spend time thinking and talking about the future – both short-term and long-term.
  3. Communicate. Take steps to work on your communication – both the quality and frequency. Spend time with people, both inside and outside the organization. Ask questions: What’s new? What could be better? What do you see? Don’t provide your own opinion. Simply gather information.
  4. Involve your team. Use the information you’ve gathered. Work with your team to create a vision of the future. They have to be a part of the process. Help them understand what the future could look like, how they can contribute to it, and what success really means.

The only visions that take hold are those that are shared. And you’ll create them only if you listen very, very carefully. And learn to appreciate those around you. Don’t take your team for granted – they are the people who help create the future.

 

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