It is December, and every writer out there is thinking what retrospective am I going to write to tie the previous year up in a little bow? How am I going to take the year that was, make sense of it and inspire people towards great things in the year to come?
So, I ask you, do you need to read another article like that?
Probably not, but what if instead we shifted the paradigm and looked five years out?
What if we shifted our gaze into the far future and seriously think, where do I, as a reader of this article, want myself and my company to be?
What are the unknowns in my future, and what are the things that I need to do to futureproof both myself and my business to not become irrelevant?
Too many organizations believe that future planning is looking at the next fiscal or quarter and believe that lean or agile thinking will prevail. The thought process is, If we develop the skills to react in a “just in time” environment, we will be able to counteract the forces that are at play.
The problem is, your competitors are not thinking that way. Maybe not all of them, but the wise ones have people on payroll whose positions rely on asking the “what if” questions instead of the “what now” ones. People who are looking to the future and asking;
- What are the competitive changes to the landscape that could be at play?
- Who are the potential partners with whom we need to align ourselves?
- Who could become competition with solutions that render us obsolete?
The problem is, this cannot be the sole job of one person; it needs to be the responsibility of everyone in the company. Many eyes, looking in various directions, with different perspectives, different points of view and different sets of expertise create greater opportunity for long term success. A great company empowers its people to act and think critically. That same company enables its people, at all levels, to voice their opinions and devise solutions that will make the company better and enable it to react ahead of the curve.
How do you do that?
Communication and Leadership!
Companies need to instill the ability for every single employee to understand where they are and where they are going. To understand the brand story and utilize the lessons learned by it to drive the company forward.
If your employees do not understand direction, challenges, competitors, competitive advantages, fiscal constraints, and many other factors to do with how you run your company, how can they work to make it better despite limitations? How can they keep their eyes open and their ears peeled to listen and look for signs of change and help you to react in a timely manner? How can keeping staff in a “need to know” culture ultimately help you grow and prosper?
The best organizations communicate openly, share purpose and challenges, and enable their staff to make decisions that are in the long-term best interest of the company and those who work within it.
So, let’s talk about how you communicate effectively and create a culture that drives the objectives of your organization. First and foremost, you need Leaders At Any Level. Leadership is an attitude and not a title. Anyone can lead if given the opportunity. Your best leaders are those who can understand your mission, vision, and values, through understanding your brand story, and can instill them in others. These leaders instill confidence in others, provide them with the ability to innovate, and experiment with the objectives of the company in mind and make people feel that they are listened to, understood and valued.
Leaders help set direction and enable those that they lead to know that mistakes made in the best interest of the company are not bad things, but rather lessons learned from and improved upon. Leaders build a culture of creativity, where people can ask “what if” and look at new ways to move the company forward and by doing so, give people reason to believe that their actions and opinions matter.
These leaders and the culture that they create will enable you to succeed long-term. They will provide you with the multiple sets of eyes and ears you require to stay one step ahead of your competition, understand the changing needs of your clients and build the relationships with your vendors that will future proof your business.
The alternative to not doing any or all of this is becoming a commodity. A low-cost alternative that is not innovative or valuable, full of staff that is not effective or engaged, and putting yourself in a position where you cannot communicate what makes you different to your customers.
Now is the time to be developing the culture and leadership that will enable you to look five years out, avoid the traps of complacency and keep you from becoming a commodity that eventually has no value to anyone.
Ben Baker wants to help you engage, retain, and grow your most valuable asset … your employees. He provides workshops and consulting to enable staff to understand, codify, and communicate their value effectively internally and externally and Lead at Any Level. The author of Powerful Personal Brands: A Hands-On Guide to Understanding Yours and the host of the IHEART Radio syndicated YourLIVINGBrand.live show, he writes extensively on leadership, brand, and internal communication strategy.
To schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to establish how Ben can help you create success on your terms, CLICK HERE.