The ability to navigate the unknown is a vital skill for any leader in an organization. However, it has become characteristic in the last few years that companies, of any size, focus on short term goals not a long future. That said, companies that encourage leaders to regularly take a break from short term performance and envision the future surpass their competition. These organizations know that it takes courage to set the compass to territories that are not known well by senior staff or line management. When the supporting teams see both boldness and courage from their leaders, it also gives them faith that they will be supported through market difficulties and the journey to the future.
Leaders are molded through practiced skill, continued flexibility, and perpetual modification. Andrew Graham, CEO of Forum Corp, has stated, “If you do not see these signs in yourself, fear not. It is all about getting yourself in a better frame of mind and looking at the bigger picture to get you over the neurological hurdles that hold you back from being a great and bold leader.”
Scanning the horizon is leadership guidance at its best. It is the exploration of the future; and, how to get there. From their analysis, they develop calculated blueprints identifying the connections between desired outcomes and how to measure their progress along the way. After the initial blueprinting stage, they integrate employees’ viewpoints to nurture ownership in getting to the new horizon.
What elements do leaders use to look to the horizon or when navigating the future? Try any of these concepts:
- This type of leader views the unknown as having many paths to possibilities; and are essentially curious. You see them unafraid to explore, to question, to speculate; and encourage others to also model these behaviors.
- They know there may be complications on the road to the future, but they don’t magnify the new difficulties into something larger than they are. Magnification of problems has become a hallmark of TV shows and the news. Remember how much eggs were maligned in previous years? There are no trophies for excessive worry and angst. They identify the skills and strengths that are required for problem solving, enlisting other key people where needed.
- They give themselves time to practice ‘critical thinking’ about the challenges or risks that are ahead. They gather and assess pertinent information, test the information against relevant criteria and any new standards that may have come into place. And they are humble enough to listen carefully to the experts they have chosen to work with towards ultimate success.