Forward-Thinking Leaders Stay Ahead of the Curve

Forward-thinking leaders have their thumb on the pulse of their team, their organization, and the ever-changing landscape of modern business. Here are 10 tips for staying ahead of the curve and guiding your team toward innovation and lasting success.

Give Your Team Credit

Give your team credit for the victories.

Your team did the work. They did the heavy lifting. Take none of the credit, even when it was your idea and even when you worked harder than anyone. The victory belongs to your team.

Take The Blame

Take the blame for the mistakes, the missteps, and failures.

Your team may have had its share of missteps, failures, and setbacks, but the responsibility is yours.

Because you are their leader, you own the mistakes and failures. You take responsibility, and then you lead the team to better results.

Invest in Relationships

Invest as much time and energy as you possibly can in building relationships.

If you want to get things done, invest your time in building relationships up and down your organization. Invest in building relationships with your clients and suppliers.

You’ll need these relationships in the future, and you want to have strong relationships before you start to need strong relationships.

Spend Time in Informal Meetings

Spend more time in informal meetings than required meetings.

You will learn five times as much in informal meetings with the people who work for you as you will in formal meetings with the people for whom you work.

If you want to understand where to find the roadblocks, obstacles, and bottlenecks that need your attention, directly meet with the people who don’t report to you directly.

Create Shareholder Value

Your real shareholders are your employees and your clients.

It is critical that you get things in the right order. The only real way to create shareholder value is to first take care of your employees and your customers.

Get this right and the shareholders will have their returns. Get this wrong and they won’t.

Defend The Culture

Create and protect a culture worth defending.

Your people will reflect the company culture they’re in. You create a culture worth defending by breathing purpose and values into everything you do and say on a daily basis.

You will have succeeded when the culture you create rejects anything and anyone that could destroy that purpose or those values.

Reinforce Old Ideas With New Stories

Say the same thing over and over again, especially when you believe you have said it too often.

If you want people to believe, you have to say the same thing over and over again. You will feel like people are getting bored with what you say.

You will feel like they want or need something new. They don’t. You just need to be more creative and find new ways of saying the same thing and new stories to tell.

Build Leaders

One of the main challenges you will face as a leader is identifying and building more leaders.

Your role is necessary to further the organization’s goals, and your legacy is going to be found in the people who can pick up and take the organization further than you did. Don’t worry about having a painting of you in the boardroom.

Worry about all the portraits that come after yours. None of the faces that follow yours will be dependents; they’ll be leaders.

Embrace What’s Next

If you want to doom your organization, the fastest way to do so is to resist change.

A leader is a woman for the future. She sees around corners. She embraces and leads “what’s next.” Forward-thinking leaders protect purpose and values; they embrace new ideas, new technologies, new trends, and new demands.

Timing Is Everything

Change when necessary, not because the calendar changed.

You embrace the new and you change. But you do it when it is necessary, not just because the calendar flipped to a new quarter or year. You can’t whip your people from one new shiny object to the next.

Much of the time, you will find that the reason your initiative failed isn’t that it wasn’t the right idea, but because it was poorly executed or the timing wasn’t right.

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About the author

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is President and Chief Sales officer for SOLUTIONS Staffing, a best-in-class regional…

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