“The purpose of today’s training...

Think-Different How are you training to defeat yesterday’s understanding?

...is to defeat yesterday’s understanding."

As leaders make time to plan for the next business cycle, we’ve noticed a common theme both in our coaching conversations as well as in general conversations not directly related to coaching. Leaders are quick to delve into the operational plans for their businesses and organizations. However, when the asked about their personal leadership development plans, the conversations suddenly go silent or taper off significantly. Thus, this is the theme for this month’s discussion around how leaders must think more broadly when it comes to planning for sustainable success in a new business cycle.

The title of this month’s discussion is from the 17th Century Japanese philosopher, Miyamoto Musashi. He is also a noted strategist, swordsman and ronin. He is credited with developing a unique style of swordsmanship, a feat he could not have accomplished by continuing to use the yesterday’s understanding of his time. So too, leaders of this century must continue to adapt to this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) business environment of the present day!

Business plans, along with their associated sales, operations and financial forecasts, are only as accurate as the assumptions and conditions they are built on. So too are the leader’s individual and team development plans leading into a new business cycle. What assumptions and conditions are leaders making about how relevant their leadership is in a VUCA business environment? Specifically, what is the current understanding of what it takes to consistently succeed in this environment? How are leaders thinking critically about how they are leading themselves, their teams and their organizations?

Of course, the answers to these questions will generate a training and development plan to ensure the leader’s understanding is relevant to the current environment. Using tools such as the PESTEL (Political, Economic, Social-Cultural, Technology, Environmental, Legal) Analysis of their business, leaders understand the context in which they lead. For instance, what individual development does the leader need to ensure they are leading from a level of trust by their followers? As we work with leaders in our coaching practice, one of our favorite questions in response to the leader’s assessment is, “Based on what?” The intent is to validate the level of critical thinking on the leader’s to effectively inform their conclusion!

Often leaders find themselves in situations where they simply do not know how to address certain aspects of the many challenges of 21st Century business. It is in these situations where training and development can close the gap. Training to close the leadership skill gaps such as effective communications, managing conflict and priority management to name but a few. Development to apply those new leadership skills in the context of their business to create a new level of understanding and thinking that informs new possibilities for sustainable success. For instance, when the conversation turns to innovation, an often-forgotten concept is that leaders must think different to do different. Only when they think different can innovation come to life!

As leaders across all types of businesses set their plans for the next business cycle, training and development of themselves and their leadership teams is crucial for sustainable success. Whether for-profit or non-profit, public or private, small boutique or large global corporations, as the saying goes, “Knowledge is not power. Applied knowledge is power.”

How are you training to defeat yesterday’s understanding? If you are not sure, we can help!

Lead Well!

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Sunday, 21 July 2024