What is the invisible crisis? Business Leadership – Vision
The answer and a brief history lesson below. This article is for growth-oriented leaders who see opportunities and act on them.
The pace of change is accelerating at an all-time record speed with no slowdown in sight. In fact, if history is any indicator, it will continue to increase. This means unless you, individually and as a company, grow and change at the same rate, you soon may become obsolete. In the book Alice in Wonderland, the Red Queen tells Alice, “It takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
The key here is recognizing how your market is changing, accepting change and growing yourself and your company. If you are going to remain relevant in the not-too-distant future, there are changes you must make. Change can be a fun experience. It is inspiring and helps you avoid being blindsided and experiencing undue business pain and suffering.
Most Boomers remember it was not that long ago, in the 1970’s and 1980’s, when the pace of business was leisurely. You would talk to your customer on the phone, send a letter or proposal through the U.S. Post Office and say, “Let’s get together next week.” Most people stayed at one company for years or a lifetime. They received free health insurance, defined pension plans and/or a company-paid profit-sharing plan. If you are under age 45, you probably don’t remember this.
In the 80’s, a miracle occurred. Fax machines, leading-edge technology of the day, came into being and the speed of business increased dramatically. In the late 80’s and early 90’s downsizing, which we now take for granted, became a business reality. This created instability in all our lives. A stable, lifelong job no longer existed except in the public sector, and now even that is no longer the case.
The Internet came along and made worldwide access and instant communication available 24 hours a day. Soon, whiz kids like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook created new channels of communication, and entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs put Internet technology in your hand so you are always connected. Many professionals are working from the time they wake up, and some even sleep with their phones beside them so they are always available.
What to do about it
Steps 1 and 1A
Be aware of and accept how the constant input of communication impacts both your personal and professional life.
Ask yourself, “Now what?”
- Vision is essential to survive
As a serial entrepreneur, I have spent a great deal of time looking forward–to see what I must change both individually and company-wide to support my vision and goals. In order to do this, you must create space in your life for time to look forward and see what is coming.
- Make continuous improvement a way of life
Continuous improvement must be part of your context, or a core value. Change becomes an ongoing process every day, every week and every month. You don’t want to wait until you “have to,” which is often too late. Playing catch-up long after you should have changed is a very painful problem and a dangerous way to manage your life and your business.
- Commit to A and B and take personal responsibility to make it happen
A + B + personal responsibility = a powerful formula.
In my study of visionaries, I found accomplished leaders have four traits…vision, the right context, commitment and responsibility. Read VCCR (www.johnruh.com/vision-context-commitment-responsibility/). It may open your eyes.
- Manage your ego wisely
If you think you have no ego, you are kidding yourself. Dr. Hal Stone calls the ego our operating system. It has strengths and weaknesses that need to be managed. Otherwise, you are working on “automatic,” and that is dangerous. You must manage your ego, or it will manage you. This takes some hard thinking and introspection, and the rewards are worth it.
These are my answers to the question, “Now what?” What are yours?
I hope this piece inspires you to think about your company’s future and your own. Please forward it to your friends and co-workers, and call us if we can be of assistance.
Free Leadership articles
Go to our blog for articles on vision, culture, leadership, recruiting, sales, and professional development and book/DVD summaries.