The Business Leader of the Future – do you have what it takes?

World strategy guru and author, Gary Hamel in his best-selling book “The Future of Management” points out that traditional ways of managing a business are coming to an end. In his book he states that:

“New problems demand new principles. Put bluntly, there’s simply no way to build tomorrow’s essential organizational capabilities—resilience, innovation and employee engagement—atop the scaffolding of 20th century management principles.”

Also, Alex Osterwalder another business thought leader talks about the urgent need for ‘business model innovation’ in his publications. He states that:

“Companies that aren’t able to systematically rejuvenate their business model will struggle to survive and thrive in the future.”

These are only two of the many new management thinking which has become much more readily available over the past 10 years thanks to the power of the internet. And, when you combine all the innovative and clever thinking from these resources, the big question is this:

“What does it take to be the Business Leader of the Future?”

Any Business Leader who would attempt to adopt all of the new management thinking would end up in knots in attempting to be the world’s best motivator, creative thinker, leader, strategist, team player, coach or lean specialist while driving the most innovative business model for their industry.

And while it is inspiring to hear stories of Steve Jobs from Apple or how Google drive their operations, we cannot help but ask – how does the leader of a successful small to medium-sized horticulture business decide what latest thinking to take on board? How do we decide what is right for our horticulutre business? How can we make it stick?

We have compiled 10 key traits of a future business leader to assist in determining what first steps to take for future success.

1. Do I act as a ‘coach’ rather than a ‘manager’?

Do you adopt a mutual relationship with your team rather than control and command?

2. Can the business can function effectively without me?

Do you give your members a chance to work with autonomy and self-control so they can develop new skills and increase job satisfaction?

3. Do I have a simple, clear approach to developing strategies?

Do you understand that a clear business strategy is critical for the success of your company? Do you provide focus to your business and align your resources to achieve the expected results?

4. Do I have a high level of ‘self-awareness’ or Emotional Intelligence?

Do you develop tools for leveraging your team’s strengths and confronting their weaknesses? Do you cultivate relationships? Are you open to new ideas, inquiry, and constructive criticism?

5. Do I have strong financial management skills?

Do you oversee and direct the financial activities of your organisation?

6. Am I a good communicator?

Do you and your team have good communication? Managers can fail to gain commitment from employees, fail to achieve business goals and fail to develop rapport with the people on their team without good communication.

7. Am I a good listener?

Do you listen? From a business perspective, listening is important when emotions interfere with clear thinking. Allow employees to address their emotions and help them move beyond the situation at hand in an effective way so they can get back to business.

8. Do I have a strong network of peers to use as a strategic sounding board?

Do you seek out personal contacts who can be objective and be strategic counselors?

9. Am I a good implementer, do things get done when I’m involved?

Do you encourage your team to be creative? Do you allow out-of-the-box thinking to find solutions to problems?

10. Do I have strong life-balance?

Do you promote a balance between work, family and outside interests in your staff? Keep in mind that through strong, supportive leadership, you develop stronger loyalty and high retention rates.

Now, it is important to analyse WHERE you want to be as a business leader in 5 years’ time. This will help you define the amount of evolution required for you as a Business Leader and to help you fill out the gap analysis exercise below.

Gap Analysis Exercise: Top 10 traits of a Future Business Leader

Rate on a scale of -5 to +5 with -5 being ‘Very Low’ and +5 being ‘Very High’ how much you agree with each statement below? First complete it for where you are NOW and then WHERE you want to be: QuestionNOWWHEREGAP
Do I act as a ‘coach’ rather than a ‘manager’?
Can the business function effectively without me?
Do I have a simple, clear approach to developing strategies?
Do I have a high level of ‘self-awareness’ or Emotional Intelligence?
Do I have strong financial management skills?
Am I a good communicator?
Am I a good listener?
Do I have a strong network of peers to use as a strategic sounding board?
Am I a good implementer, do things get done when I’m involved?
Do I have strong life-balance?

Complete the gap analysis and take note of your top three largest gaps. These should now become your three strategies to work on to become a more effective ‘Business Leader of the Future’. Implementing these strategies effectively with robust actions will be your next step.

Yes, it is inspiring to read the latest management books and new management thinking but it is critical to remember that it is a journey and there are clear steps that need to be achieved first before you can reach your end goals. Take the time to go through each step and never rush to the perceived finish line as this will have a negative impact, not only on yourself but also for your team and your business.

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