The Business Leader of the Future – will you have what it takes to succeed?

“Traditional ways of managing a business are coming to an end.”
– Gary Hamel, The Future of Management

It has been a recurring theme in our blogs and webinars that we are in a fast-changing business environment and that we need to update our processes and systems within our organisations for us to cope.

The quote above is taken from the best-selling book “The Future of Management” by World strategy guru and author, Gary Hamel where he adds, in direct quote,

“New problems demand new principles. Put bluntly, there’s simply no way to build tomorrow’s essential organisational capabilities—resilience, innovation and employee engagement—atop the scaffolding of 20th century management principles.”

Another business thought-leader, Alex Osterwalder talks about the urgent need for ‘business model innovation’ in his publications where he states that:

“Companies that aren’t able to systematically rejuvenate their business model will struggle to survive and thrive in the future.”

When you combine the innovative, clever thinking from these gurus with other new management thinking over the past 10 years, the big question is this:

“What is a Business Leader of the future supposed to do next?”

While it is inspiring to hear stories of Steve Jobs from Apple or how Google drive their operations, how does the leader of a successful small to medium-sized business decide what latest thinking to take on board? How do they decide what is right for their business?How do they make it stick?

Adopting all of the new management thinking available from books, the internet and other resources would have any Business Leader twisted into knots attempting to be the world’s best motivator, creative thinker, leader, strategist, team player, coach or lean specialist. So to assist Business Leaders determine what first steps to take for future success, we have compiled the 10 key traits of a future business leader.

1. I act as a ‘coach’ rather than a ‘manager.’

What is the difference between coaching and managing? Managing requires a Command and Control Culture while Coaching requires a Success Culture.

The Command & Control Culture is where ideas, policies, directives, and initiatives flow from the “top” of the organizational pyramid downwards.

The Success Culture, on the other hand, adopts a mutual relationship and is where ideas, policies and initiatives are mutually generated and considered.

2. The business can function effectively without me.

Do you give members a chance to be their own bosses by letting them work with autonomy and self-control so they can develop new skills and increase job satisfaction?

3. I have a simple, clear approach to developing strategies.

Understanding that a clear business strategy is critical for the success of your company, you are providing focus to your business and aligning resources to achieve expected results.

4. I have a high level of ‘self-awareness’ or Emotional Intelligence.

You develop tools for leveraging strengths and confronting weaknesses by fostering self-awareness. Leaders with self-awareness earn credibility and cultivate relationships based on trust and respect, and they remain open to new ideas, inquiry, and constructive criticism.

5. I have strong financial management skills.

Financial managers oversee and direct the financial activities of their organisation.

6. I am a good communicator.

One of the most important aspects of leadership is communication. Without good communication, you can fail to gain commitment from your employees, fail to achieve business goals and fail to develop rapport with the people on your team.

7. I am good listener.

Understanding that listening is also crucial from a business perspective. When emotions are high, it can interfere with clear thinking so you allow employees to address their emotions and help them move beyond the situation at hand in an effective way, so they can get back to business.

8. I have a strong network of peers to use as a strategic sounding board.

Leveraging the elements of networking—seeking out personal contacts who can be objective and be strategic counselors, or be able to transform colleagues in adjacent functions into a constituency.

9. I am a good implementer, things get done when I’m involved.

You encourage your team to be creative and allow out-of-the-box thinking to find solutions to problems.

10. I have strong life-balance.

You live by example and promote a balance between work, family and outside interests in your staff. By doing so, you develop stronger loyalty and achieve higher retention rates.

Now, analyse WHERE you want to be as a business in 5 years’ time. This will provide a peg in the ground for the amount of evolution required for you as a Business Leader. Use this to help in the gap analysis exercise below.

Top 10 traits of a Future Business Leader – GAP ANALYSIS

Rate on a scale of -5 to +5 with -5 being ‘Very Low’ and +5 being ‘Very High’ how much you agree with each statement below? First complete it for where you are NOW and then WHERE you want to be:

Once you have completed the gap analysis, identify your top three largest gaps. These should now become your three strategies to work on to become a more effective ‘Business Leader of the Future’. Implementing these strategies effectively with robust actions is your next challenge.

While it is inspiring to read the latest management books and new management thinking articles, it is critical to remember that it is a journey and there are clear steps that need to be achieved first before you can reach your end goals. And, attempting to race straight to the perceived finish line will have a negative impact on yourself, your team and your business.

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