Successful leaders are proficient at impacting harmoniously the tactical and strategic aspects of their business. More specifically, I challenge the executives we help to define clearly their imperatives.
As I described in the previous key, to create and sustain forward momentum, leaders must work concurrently on three aspects of their business: its present, its future, and its resources and capabilities. Business success is achieved by meeting these three imperatives.
In this key we will reflect on the second of these three imperatives for success and identify questions you must address about the future to build your business and leverage your opportunities. We will address the third imperative in a future key.
The 3 Imperatives for Business Success: The Future
Managing the present, the future, and your organizational resources and capabilities is the leadership challenge! Even experienced leaders can get blindsided and fall into one of the "traps" that halt or delay your progress.
In our work we help clients handle these three imperatives concurrently and successfully. Here is how we focus on the second imperative, the future. First we describe what it is. Next we show what you must do, and how you can assess your organization's readiness to address this imperative.
The horizons mentioned below represent three time periods: the immediate term (horizon 1), the intermediate term (horizon 2), and the long-term (horizon 3).
Imperative of the future
- What is it?
In this aspect of your business, you first identify the desired picture of the future, including the new outcomes that it makes possible. You then work backwards so you can actualize the future as it arrives. The key is relevance. You must ensure that everything you do now is connected directly and builds your envisioned future.
- What must I do?
Work on successive horizons with strategic discipline. Determine how your services and offerings will evolve and change in the short-, medium-, and long term. Define a target future state and a winning aspiration. Prioritize your core strategies. Simplify and streamline wherever possible. Eliminate anything that is not aligned with your objectives. Ensure that your employees have a clear line of sight between their contributions and the organization's future state.
- What is the potential trap?
Unsuspecting leaders may fail to translate their horizon three winning aspiration into a concrete set of prioritized initiatives in horizon two. They create the plan yet fail to implement it effectively.
- Reflection questions:
- What future do we imagine?
- What will we be known for in the future?
- What will this future enable for the organization and its stakeholders?
- What must we change?
- What is the work I must do to bring this future to life?
After answering the above reflection questions for the second imperative, the future, and the previous questions for the first imperative, the present, you will be two-thirds of the way toward developing a blueprint for greater success in your organization. Take this second self-assessment step today.
- Look for the final imperative for business success, organizational resources and capabilities, in a future key. Until then, call us to discuss how we can help you meet your imperatives and create the future of your organization.
© Aviv Shahar