Most of us are familiar with the operating systems (OS) on our phones and computers. Just as these electronic devices require optimized software to handle a variety of important tasks, businesses benefit from a strategic operating system of their own. As it turns out, most businesses already have some sort of operating system at play — the problem is often that 1) it’s become background noise rather than a recipe for success, and 2) it could use a major “firmware update.” Moreover, in many cases, a company has several operating systems competing for dominance, creating chaos that hinders growth, profit, and leadership development.
Let’s define what a company operating system is and how the right one can drive profit and growth in your organization.
Defining a Company Operating System
Simply put, a company’s operating system serves as a guide for its inner workings, compiling the processes, structure, and systems needed to achieve certain objectives. Unlike a rigid line of code or instruction manual, a company’s OS is a sturdy yet flexible strategic game plan. Leadership and staffers rally around their central OS to solve problems, make decisions, resolve issues, and prepare for future success. In other words, every procedure should stem from the operating system, whether it’s employee management, succession planning, resource/financial management, marketing initiatives, etc. When every action derives from the same source, a shared vision flows through and informs your entire organization.
How the Right Operating System Can Improve and Grow Your Organization
So, a company operating system provides conscious clarity to an organization by establishing a well-defined structure that removes the guesswork. Ultimately, this framework translates to tangible growth and profit. After all, achieving organizational and profit goals depends on a passionate group of people actively working towards a clear purpose. When leaders and team members know what to aim for and why they’re aiming that way, much of the “fat” is easily trimmed away, revealing a streamlined path toward continued success.
Neglecting your operating system or adopting an OS that doesn’t quite fit your organization will have the opposite effect, preventing growth, diminishing profits, and impairing your company culture as a whole. As leaders struggle to communicate their message clearly, team members will grow more and more frustrated, hindering morale and increasing turnover, which thwarts talent retention and succession planning efforts. The best way to prevent this self-fulfilling cycle from taking hold of your organization is to invest more time and energy into cultivating the optimal operating system.
Establishing an Operating System that Suits Your Goals and Vision
The question remains, then: how can you create and maintain an operating system perfect for your organization? Synthesizing the best aspects of various company OS methodologies is a great place to start. At Leadership Resources, we help our clients leverage the strengths of many ideologies, tools, and systems to bolster their operating system. When it comes to business and leadership growth, we don’t believe in “one-size-fits-all” solutions — we also understand the value of allowing companies to try new things for themselves. As such, our method starts with a deep discovery of an organization’s specific processes, needs, and strategic goals. This research then feeds into our selection process for the tools and strategies that will fit said business like a glove.
When all is said and done, an optimized operating system will help your organization scale up, optimize data, better manage cash, and meet & exceed goals.
Operating Your Business With a Better System
Most organizations know what factors drive their business and their growth. But working with Leadership Resources and building a company operating system creates accountability around these factors. This process illuminates the leading indicators, where an organization’s energy and effort are consistently going. It allows them to problem solve, see trends over time, and make a real difference.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most!Read More
For more than 20 years, Leadership Resources has provided strategic advisory services for growth-focused organizations throughout the United States. We are proud to have assisted hundreds of organizations in planning for, and meeting their strategic objectives. Throughout the years, we have used many methodologies, strategies, and tools to customize our approach to what works best for our clients. We are now centralizing these services under the name Accelerate OS.
The Power of Accelerate OS
Our executive coaching and consulting services focus on aligning leaders and organizations around a clear, central vision. When leaders within your company become aligned around vision and goals, they’re able to guide their teams at every step of the strategic planning and performance management process.
Sometimes, strategic coaching programs can be too rigid and lock a company into a particular set of rhythms, tools, and methodologies — even if they aren’t right for a company’s needs. Accelerate OS is different. It draws from the best of the best and is customized for each company’s growth path and goals.
At Leadership Resources, our strategies have helped the growth and development in leadership of countless companies by:
- Clarifying a shared vision
- Defining clear direction and priorities
- Establishing SMART, FAST goals
- Identifying key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Crafting success-bound strategic action plans
- …and more
Additionally, Leadership Resources has partnered with Pinnacle Business Guides (PBG). This partnership provides expanded opportunities for our clients through increased options of tools and a unique approach to processes, while providing our team with expanded resources, experience, and knowledge. This relationship only bolsters Leadership Resources’ custom client approach.
The Team Behind Accelerate OS
Dan Sedor leads our team of Strategic Growth Advisors at Leadership Resources. As Leadership Resources’ Co-founder and Director of Strategic Services, Dan has executed thousands of session days, including more than 500 EOS sessions with clients.
Sedor became a Certified EOS Implementer just five years ago, meaning he’s held an average of 100 sessions per year since 2016 with this specific distinction. While he is no longer affiliated with EOS Worldwide, he brings this past experience to every client he serves. Over the past two decades, he’s facilitated strategic planning meetings for over 100 organizations across many industries, including start-ups, mid-sized companies, and large enterprises.
In addition to Sedor, Andy Grant, Brian Olson, and Alex Garcia have led hundreds of Accelerate OS sessions themselves. They are firm believers that strategic guidance has to be authentic to the client’s current status and desired staff leadership development.
This diverse team’s work with clients of all sizes and industries provides future clients with a wealth of experience from which to pull.
Optimize Your Organization’s Operating System
The strategic consulting team at Leadership Resources believes that improving your business’ operating system or “OS” allows your organization to capitalize on its potential. Every Accelerate OS engagement is tailor-made for each client to optimize their OS by providing the tools to facilitate faster and more informed decision-making. A more efficient OS also improves teamwork, accountability, culture, and maximizes productivity.
In addition, with the help of our leadership development offering, called Accelerate OS, you can develop emerging leaders, create more positive outlooks, and even work on your own succession strategy.
Our Goal Is to Help Thousands of Clients
Strategy isn’t one-size-fits-all. We’ll help you tailor your strategic plan to your company for long-term success. By taking advantage of our strategic planning services, you can expect greater clarity of your company’s vision and purpose, as well as a detailed focus on realistic goals and plans of action. All of this should result in measurable growth in profit, productivity, and more.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. As our strategic growth advisors continue to serve successful businesses in a manner that makes them even more successful, we also continue to grow and evolve our custom approach for the betterment of our clients. Here’s to delivering the next thousand productive, “needle-moving” sessions with our clients. Contact us here to learn more about Accelerate OS, what we do, do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
There is no single “right way” to operate a business or poise it for long-term success. Every enterprise is unique, after all. Still, specific approaches transcend these differences, offering near-universal benefits to businesses of all sizes and types. Strategic leadership refers to one such approach to business management that can yield several long-term benefits when properly implemented and executed. Of course, it’s worth noting that the upsides of the strategic leadership approach are contrasted with some downsides, too.
Let’s Look at the Pros and Cons of Strategic Leadership
What Is Strategic Leadership?
Strategic leadership can be defined as a leadership philosophy that prioritizes the communication and execution of a particular vision via tangible, streamlined actions and processes. In other words, the strategic leader not only generates and clarifies a business’ vision, but also adeptly leads its team toward realizing said vision one step at a time — the best strategic leaders can simultaneously keep the big picture and key details in mind, which is precisely what allows their business to achieve its short- and long-term goals. The leadership skills required for this brand of leadership include strong communication, a focus on culture, judicious deployment of power, self-control, compassion, consistency, loyalty, and strong motivation.
The Plus Sides of Strategic Leadership
There are several potential benefits that come with the strategic leadership approach. First, strategic leaders are able to unite teams, generate buy-in, and keep everyone on the same page, working toward a collective goal. In this way, the strategic leader keeps departments from losing focus or losing touch with one other, which makes it that much easier to move the business forward. Next, strategic leadership establishes a framework for practical decision-making. When goals are clearly communicated, everyone can better contribute to the collective vision. Strategic leadership also facilitates impartial, long-term thinking, filtering daily decisions through the lens of the broader vision. And lastly, the best strategic leaders cultivate commitment among their teams by acting as models for proficiency and practicality. For all these reasons, businesses should consider investing in strategic leadership training for their top talent.
The Setbacks of Strategic Leadership
A strategic leadership approach isn’t a flawless one, of course. As with all long-term processes and goals, there’s no way to know for certain what the business, industry, or economy will look like in the next year, three years, five years, decade, and so on. In this way, long-term strategic thinking can become a significant expense and source of leadership stress, especially if a seemingly solid plan becomes irrelevant in the face of unpredictable changes. This is why strategic leaders must be as flexible as they are visionary. In a similar vein, strategic leaders can get lost in the bigger picture and start neglecting the business’ present issues and needs, which can cause budding problems to go unresolved and eventually interfere with the very vision in question. Ultimately, this lack of attention to the present moment can halt company growth and even result in long-term harm. Strategic leaders that either take too many risks or are too risk-averse can cause the company to miss out on key opportunities.
Developing a Winning Strategy for Your Leaders
Strategic leadership is not inherently good or bad, but rather a tool that can raise a business up for years to come or sink the ship for lack of seeing the iceberg straight ahead, so to speak. Every enterprise must determine its own balanced approach to strategic leadership development so it’s able to safely navigate the current moment while aiming for the bigger goal in the distance.At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
Generational gaps are inevitable in businesses that stick around long enough. These age-related rifts can be both beneficial and detrimental. On the one hand, people who grew up in different eras will have unique perspectives on current dilemmas, which can be synthesized into optimal solutions. Unfortunately, these varying perspectives can also create roadblocks, conflicts, and even feelings of resentment — a younger employee might feel like their ideas aren’t being taken seriously, while an older employee might feel undermined by an up and coming workforce that deems their ideas antiquated.
In many instances, leaders within a company tend to have more experience under their belts, which means they’re responsible for overseeing several employees who are younger than them. If such a leader isn’t tactful in their approach to employee management, they can end up pushing this younger generation away. This is a lose-lose situation, as both parties stand to miss out on key insights provided by the other. With that in mind, here are some ways a leader can properly influence a younger generation without judgment or major conflict.
Listen to Your Employees
We often think of a leader’s role as merely giving orders and overseeing projects. While delegation and oversight are key components of leadership, nothing is more important than communication. Leaders should listen just as much as they speak (if not more). Indeed, if you want to steer your younger employees in a positive direction, you must let go of your ego and truly take their ideas into account. You might have more experience, but this doesn’t mean you have all the answers. And if you dismiss your employees, they’ll begin to dismiss you as well. Communication is a two-way street, and if you want your wisdom to reach your younger employees, you must open yourself to their wisdom, too.
Appreciate and Utilize the Younger Generation’s Strengths
As you learn from the younger generation, you’ll quickly figure out that they’re adept at certain things you might not be, such as social media usage, coding, multitasking, etc. Rather than balk at these skills or deem them unimportant, use them to your company’s advantage. Allowing your people to play to their strengths will boost morale and benefit your business in multiple ways. You can then insert your expertise where it counts most.
Understand What Younger Workers Care About and Open Yourself to Change
One of the negative stereotypes younger workers often place on their older counterparts is that they’re stuck in the past and unwilling to adjust their point of view or methodology. Some leaders certainly fall into this category, and it’s natural to resist change no matter our age. If your goal is to reach your younger employees in a meaningful way, however, you must make an effort to understand their view of the workplace and adapt accordingly. Things were undoubtedly different when you were their age, after all. Today, most young people don’t want their work to be their entire life. This isn’t to say that younger people aren’t able or willing to work hard, but rather that they seek a healthy work/life balance. As such, millennials value companies that offer flexible scheduling, remote work options, an easygoing company culture, and so on. Whether or not you share these opinions, cultivating a workplace with more modern appeal will allow you to hire and retain top talent and create a stronger impression on your people.
Establish Common Values
Generational gaps are primarily fueled by perceived differences in values. When you dig a bit deeper, though, it often becomes clear that one generation shares most of the foundational values of the other. People of different eras might have different conceptions of what these values mean or look like, but just about everyone agrees that responsibility, respect, integrity, kindness, family, etc., are fundamental across the board. Simply discussing these values can bring people of all backgrounds together. You might be surprised at how much common ground there is between you and younger generations.
Cultivate Leadership Growth
Time doesn’t stop for anyone, and a new generation will always be there to take the place of the previous one. This can be difficult to accept, but coming to grips with this reality is key for proper succession planning. Simply put, if you want your company to have a lasting legacy, you need to cultivate new leaders and prepare them for more significant roles. In this way, investing in ongoing leadership development for the younger generation is essential to ensuring your business’ ongoing success. Additionally, investing in your people is a display of respect and encouragement. People of all generations like to learn and be recognized for their accomplishments.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
The most successful businesses are always looking towards the future while focusing on the present. Indeed, your short-term goals and day-to-day actions should contribute to the bigger picture. The continuous development of your employees, then, should be a top priority. Spending time and resources on your people’s growth is an investment in your enterprise’s prosperity. Let’s dive deeper into why proper employee and leadership development leads to long-term success for both your business and your employees.
The Benefits of Employee Development
Some people truly enjoy their work, but you can’t (nor should you) expect all of your employees to commit their whole selves to your business. That said, you also don’t want your people to feel disconnected from or disinterested in your operations and vision. Ideally, your employees will feel like they have a stake in what goes on, that their contributions matter, and that a win for the company translates to a win for the team. Focusing heavily on performance management and employee development is one way to increase engagement. Recognizing your employees’ accomplishments and providing them with opportunities to grow with the organization cultivates investment — when your people feel like they can expand their skills, influence the company, and earn more, they will become more engaged in every aspect of their work and your organization will thrive as a result.
Every company requires fresh and diverse points of view to constantly adapt and improve. If your employees lack avenues for leadership growth, however, the old guard of leadership will eventually exhaust its creative capabilities, and the business will become stagnant. The best way to innovate in your industry is to build up young and budding employees, allowing them to take on new roles and truly listening to their unique perspectives. Of course, your people must feel confident in bringing new ideas to the table — this confidence stems directly from long-term employee development.
Finding promising candidates for your organization is a challenge all its own; retaining these quality hires is in some ways even more difficult, especially in highly competitive markets. In our previous article, “How Long-Term Leadership Development Helps You Keep Your Best Talent,” we broke down the ways in which investing in your employees incentivizes them to stick with your company and improve your company culture in the long run. Indeed, businesses that regularly give their employees new opportunities and recognize their strengths have far stronger retention rates than those that keep their people in their lanes. Not only does proper employee development help you retain top talent — it also helps you attract other valuable candidates. When a potential hire is made aware of the growth opportunities your organization offers, they’re more likely to want to become a part of such a culture.
Businesses that outlive their founders and make a mark on the community keep succession planning in mind at all times. Simply put, if you want your company to thrive for generations, you must always be on the lookout for employees with the potential to lead it into the future. The best way to ensure a strong transition of leadership from old to new is to constantly cultivate fresh leadership in your organization — the more leaders you have, the easier it will be to fulfill vacant roles and create new ones. In this way, proper employee management and development will help to secure your company’s legacy. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
Strong leadership and strong communication are inextricably linked — you simply cannot have one without the other. The best leaders maintain a clear line of communication with their peers, partners, employees, and customers. In doing so, these leaders develop a deeper understanding of relevant situations, issues, shortcomings, and opportunities while delivering clear feedback and instruction that steers the ship in a purposeful direction. Let’s dive deeper into why communication is so crucial in leadership.
What Are the Benefits of Good Communication?
Communication Keeps People on the Same Page
Team management is a challenge for businesses of all sizes. Whether a team consists of a few people or dozens of individuals, leaders with strong communication skills are the glue that holds said team together through thick and thin. It’s worth noting that proper communication isn’t a one-way street, either. Leaders must be equally adept at delivering instructions and receiving feedback from team members in order to manage their team optimally. This reciprocity allows leaders to earn the respect and engagement of their employees and make informed decisions that garner maximum buy-in.
Communication Is Key to Understanding Problems
The ability to listen is one of the most important qualities of a good leader, and, as previously mentioned, half of the communication equation. If you fail to hear or comprehend the concerns of those within your organization, the smallest issues can grow into a rot that’s more and more difficult to expel over time. The best leaders actively check in with their people to uncover any nascent problems so they can resolve them as quickly and effectively as possible. New issues are still bound to arise — the key is getting ahead of them with masterful communication rather than ignoring them or missing them entirely.
Communication Drives Positive Change
The whole point of understanding problems in your organization is to discover weak points that you can fix and then make various adjustments that push your company in a better direction. In this way, then, strong leadership communication skills are the driving force behind constructive change. Your organization will struggle to grow or improve if its leaders don’t properly respond to problems and opportunities when they arise.
Communication Helps Retain Top Talent
In recent posts, we’ve discussed the importance of employee retention, especially when it comes to keeping top talent in your organization. While these retention efforts are multi-faceted, leadership communication remains at the heart of them. Those with the most potential in your company may seek other opportunities if they don’t feel like their ideas are being heard and/or if they don’t feel properly compensated for their contributions. In order to keep these valuable people around, leaders must help them grow with the organization — this might mean promoting them into new positions, guiding their own leadership development, giving them appropriate raises, and so on. Whatever the case, these decisions must be based on the mutual needs of these individuals and your company, which can only be uncovered through powerful communication.
Leaders who display strong communication keep their people on the same page, understand and resolve issues before they fester, improve their operations and culture, and retain the very best people to keep this cycle going. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
Taking on a leadership role is a major honor and responsibility. Much is expected of leaders, and many leaders have a habit of carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders to prove something to themselves, their colleagues, their team, or all of the above. However, being a strong leader isn’t about bearing all of your business’ burdens — rather, it’s about lifting up your organization through strategic decision-making, delegation, oversight, and flexibility. When things get too stressful (and this year has certainly been one for the books), your ability to effectively lead can get hampered, especially if you don’t have the resources and habits for handling this stress. In this way, strong leadership and stress management are two sides of the same coin.
With that in mind, let’s outline some effective stress management techniques for leaders of all stripes.
How to Reduce Stress
Prioritize Your Physical and Mental Well-Being
All of your decisions and behaviors stem from your physical and mental state. This means that being a productive leader begins with taking care of your body and mind. The following lifestyle adjustments help both prevent and relieve leadership stress:
- Get enough sleep (7-9 hours)
- Maintain a healthy diet (limit caffeine, alcohol, and sugar)
- Stay hydrated
- Exercise regularly (3-5 days a week)
- Practice mindfulness (meditation, yoga)
- Read for enjoyment and education
- Enjoy hobbies and/or mindless activities
Anything that promotes your physical and mental well-being will make you more alert, improve your mood, boost your decision-making capacity, and minimize distractions when it counts.
We’re often told that a messy desk is a sign of genius. While there may be some truth to this statement, a chaotic work space is also a major source of stress. If you can’t easily find folders, documents, utensils, etc., you’ll end up wasting time, causing you to fall behind and undergo even more stress. One of the simplest methods for managing leadership stress, then, is organizing your stuff, which includes not only your physical space but also your schedule. Make lists, label and alphabetize folders and files, streamline your calendar, etc.
Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate
As leaders, we often feel like we have to do everything. Not only is this an arrogant frame of mind, though, it’s also detrimental to your mental state and your organization. Simply put, some tasks can and should be handled by other people so you can focus on other things. The key to proper delegation is finding the right people to take on certain tasks. By establishing a strong rapport with your team, you can determine their individual strengths, which will allow you to trust the person (or people) you charge with a given task. You can always assess their performance after the fact and determine whether changes need to be made. Delegating tasks to your team members also grants them the opportunity to learn new skills and grow into leaders themselves.
Remember: Perfection isn’t the Goal
One of main causes of leadership stress is the nagging pull of perfectionism. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get things done right, but focusing too much on perfection can paralyze your decision-making, slow down your operations, and result in worse outcomes in the long run. You can reduce a lot of stress and work more efficiently by instead focusing on getting things done and smoothing out any rough edges afterward.
Wield the Power of “No”
To be a leader is to have a target on your back (for good or bad). People will constantly reach out to you, ask you questions, seek advice, cast blame on you when something goes wrong, and so on. While it’s important to maintain strong communication with everyone in your circle, it’s also okay to back away and take some time to yourself. You don’t need to attend every single meeting, hop on every phone call, handle every sudden task that crops up, work weekend, etc. Sometimes you just need to say “no” for your own good and, ultimately, the good of your organization. It’s better to deal with one task at a time than to stretch yourself way too thin.
Continue Developing Your Leadership Skills
No matter how long you’ve had your position or been with a company, leadership development never ends — at least, it shouldn’t. There are always new things to learn, new skills to acquire, and new techniques to try out. By continuing to hone your abilities, you’ll get better and better at de-stressing your life and the lives of your employees. Think of it as having more tools in your toolkit to tackle tough problems when they arise. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
Sourcing the best candidates for your business is challenging enough — keeping them around for the long haul can be even more difficult. In such a competitive global economy, employees that exhibit strong leadership skills are in high demand. As your people continue to develop, then, they may come closer to abandoning ship to explore other opportunities. While you can’t force anyone to stay, retaining your top talent is integral to the growth and legacy of your enterprise. So, how can you retain your employees as they grow professionally? Here are some thoughts.
Continue Focusing on Leadership Development
If you adopt a cynical mindset, you might think that developing leadership talent will only serve to pry your best employees away from your business — after all, the more skills they develop, the more leverage they have in the workplace. As it turns out, though, focusing on leadership development is actually one of the best ways to keep your employees around. By offering ongoing, rigorous training and education, your company provides value to your employees, which they will reciprocate in direct and indirect ways. For instance, the more adept your people become, the more productive and creative they will be — these outcomes benefit your bottom line and broaden your business’ prospects. In other words, investing in your employees will encourage them to invest back into the company, ideally for the long-run.
Open New Doors For Top Talent
As your people grow professionally, you want to make sure they don’t outgrow the scope of your business — otherwise, they’ll likely move on. No one likes feeling stuck where they are or overqualified for their position, after all. If you want them to stick with you, then, you’ll need to expand the number of opportunities you offer your employees. This might mean creating brand new roles to better suit a specific employee’s skill set, shifting around teams, tasking top talent with fresh challenges and responsibilities to keep them sharp and engaged, and so on. These efforts tie directly into your long term succession planning as well — by challenging your people and letting them explore new positions, you can better gauge who is fit to take over key roles within the company.
Commit to Strengthening Your Company Culture
Never underestimate the importance of your organization’s culture when it comes to retaining your employees. Simply put, most people would rather stay with a company that respects them, recognizes their achievements and efforts, provides ample growth opportunities, and promotes a healthy work-life balance as opposed to the alternative (even if said alternative offers a slightly higher salary). This isn’t to say, however, that merely putting on a happy face and patting your people on the back is enough to keep them around. The key to cultivating a company culture that encourages people to stay is maintaining transparency, being flexible, and compensating employees for the value they bring to the company.
Growing With Your People
Employee retention and succession planning go hand in hand. While it’s true that helping your employees grow into capable leaders runs the risk of losing them to other opportunities, you won’t be able to secure the legacy of your company if you can’t foster the growth of your people and incentivize them to stay. By focusing on continual leadership development, granting your people with new opportunities, and cultivating a strong company culture, your business will grow right alongside your top talent, and vice versa. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
Quality of leadership largely determines whether an organization rises, falls, or remains stagnant. But leaders do not magically descend from some higher realm — they are cultivated over time through experience, training, and perseverance. Indeed, nearly every company contains its share of potential leaders, and it is the responsibility of current leaders to identify and foster future leadership or else risk leaving a major hole in the organization upon leaving.
Of course, not every worker is destined to be (or interested in being) a leader. Investing in these individuals is not a waste of time, but the lion’s share of leadership development resources are better spent on those who display leadership potential. With that in mind, let’s go over how to spot future leaders at your organization.
How to Find a Future Leader
Ask Yourself: Who Goes the Extra Mile?
When seeking the future leaders of your company, a good place to start is by looking at results. Consider who in your organization consistently goes above and beyond expectations. Employees that are highly results-driven prove their enthusiasm and skill, and team members that come up with new, innovative ideas drive the company’s efforts into new territories. Pay close attention to these people in your company who keep the enterprise moving forward with passion, as they already exhibit strong leadership qualities.
Weigh Both Potential and Performance
Performance is undoubtedly a key indicator when spotting future leaders, but it is not the end-all-be-all. Indeed, you may have employees who work extremely hard but don’t exude much leadership potential. “Leadership potential” is a somewhat ambiguous metric, of course, and therefore more difficult to pick apart than hard data. Still, pay attention to those with specific leadership skills, such as strong communication, team-building aptitude, a desire to grow and learn, creativity, etc. Even if they’re not your top performers in terms of your bottom line, they might be perfect fits for various leadership roles in the future, helping those top performers reach new heights.
Shake Up the Structure
One helpful way to get a beat on future leaders is by stirring the pot a bit — namely, rotating job duties and/or assigning new roles to people every now and again. In doing so, some individuals will take full advantage of the opportunity, learning new skills and pushing themselves beyond their perceived limits. Others may wish to stay in their comfort zone and/or buckle under the pressure. Those in the former category just might be your future leaders. Job rotation is a powerful exercise for succession planning, as it can help you determine which candidates could adapt and take on new roles when necessary.
Ask Yourself: Who Is Asking Questions?
While not everyone who asks questions is bound to be a leader, all future leaders ask questions. This spirit of inquiry is directly related to strong communication and therefore strong leadership. So, keep an eye on those who take the time to clarify concepts, inquire about specifics, seek solutions to ongoing problems, and ask seemingly simple questions that others might be too timid to ask.
Train Your Eye for Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence, or “EQ,” is one of the most important qualities of a good leader. Those who can listen to the concerns and suggestions of others and act accordingly strengthen the company’s culture, encourage employee buy-in, promote teamwork, and improve the organization’s reputation and operations as a whole. When looking for EQ in future leaders, look for individuals who display empathy, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, and strong social skills.
Ask Yourself: Who Is Invested in the Organization?
Lastly, even if you’ve found a handful of candidates who meet the above criteria, you have to consider whether or not they’re in it for the long-haul. Those who show strong leadership potential are in high-demand, after all, and many businesses spend significant resources training future managers only to have them exit the organization shortly after. While you can’t force any of your leaders to stay, though, investing in their growth is a crucial way to retain your top talent. And those who routinely express their interest in the company’s future and their role in it are top contenders for future leaders. In short, if a potential leader is invested in your organization, you must invest in their development.
Developing future leaders in your company starts with identifying the best candidates. And once you know what to look for, you may be pleasantly surprised at how many people in your organization could become leaders down the line.At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
As attached as you might be to your company right now, there will come a time when it is either necessary or practical to make your exit. Of course, this eventuality might be decades away — regardless of when it happens, though, those in leadership roles must consider how the company will change as a result of their absence.
For many, these thoughts provide an ample source of leadership stress. And yet, avoiding them can lead to personal and company-wide problems down the road. If you have no exit strategy in place, you run several risks when you leave: your company might not survive the transition; the organization might radically change its values, mission, goals, etc. (perhaps for the worse); and/or the many efforts you made over the years might be lost.
So, what’s the solution? While there may be no single “secret” to exiting your company while keeping your legacy intact, here are some important ways to leave strategically and graciously.
How to Leave a Company With Good Standing
Identify and Develop Up and Coming Leaders
Your company should spend adequate time and resources developing leadership as a key component of its succession strategy. These efforts will allow current leaders to pass on values, strategies, knowledge, and more to employees who show promise and ambition. And in doing so, these up and coming leaders will be able to fill roles that are left open when someone finally exits. Strategic leadership training can take many forms, but its main focus should be to prepare newer employees to not only take over necessary responsibilities, but to manage them in ways that are commensurate with the company’s underlying values.
Cultivate a Firm Yet Flexible Culture
Every company is different, and therefore so is every company culture. That said, every organizational culture should have these core aspects in common — they should be firm enough to withstand major changes (such as the absence of certain leaders and employees), yet flexible enough to change and improve over time. During your time with the company, then, you should focus on establishing such a culture that, when you leave, the company still represents the core values you helped to imbue while healthily evolving based on societal and internal developments.
Put Financial Incentives in Place (ESOPs)
If you want you and your people to maintain a vested interest in your company, (financially speaking) even after leaving, developing an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) is one way to do so. It is worth noting that these plans can be quite complex and lead to various issues as well, so it’s important to weigh all of the potential costs and benefits with a certified exit planning advisor (CEPA) before making a final decision. Still, ESOPs can become a key component in your succession planning strategy, encouraging employees to take a larger stake in the company’s outcomes.
Leaving Doesn’t Mean Abandoning Ship Entirely
Depending on when and how you exit the company, you may still be able to play a role in its future success, imparting your wisdom and insights from a distance. For instance, you may be able to work as a part-time contractor or consultant to continue helping with leadership development and guiding the direction of the enterprise without steering the vessel. Your experience can be invaluable in helping employees and leaders deal with difficult decisions, stress, burnout, interpersonal issues, and so much more.
Leaving an organization is never easy, but taking the right steps during and after your time there can help set up the company for future success — success that is partially hinged on the contributions you have made and perhaps continue to make.At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
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