Regardless of your business type or sector your competitiveness and ongoing success will depend on one thing: your future leaders. Leadership development is therefore one of the most valuable investments your business will ever make.
I don’t need to tell you… the business landscape has never been so uncertain and challenging; but it is also a place of immense opportunity and prosperity.
The people who will lead your business of tomorrow will need to possess an unprecedented range of skills combined with a deep understanding of your business and vision for its future.
A business with emerging leaders who are not only adept at navigating adversity whilst maintaining strategic and innovative mindsets but who are also technically and digitally savvy; will gain competitive advantage.
So who and where are your next generation of leaders? And how are you preparing them to lead?
Nature or nurture?
Many people possess the qualities and motivation for leadership success, but they require nurture and development. Even born leaders need grooming so that their skills are polished and honed.
By implementing well-designed, structured leadership development, you will not only ensure that your future leaders are equipped with the necessary skills; you will also have the benefit of developing exactly the type of leaders your business requires.
Investing time to work and develop your future leadership team will allow you to embed culture and values, align business strategy, and encourage a high level of teamwork and trust within this group.
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. – Jack Welch
I am currently working with the UK branch of a global organisation who has suffered poor leadership for many years resulting in a negative culture, resistant to change and where fun and rewards are non-existent. The emerging leaders struggled to make their mark, facing historic uncooperative attitudes and a wall of “we’ve always done it this way, why change?”.
With the help of government funding we were able to work together and implement a 12-month leadership and management programme embarking the entire management team on a continuous journey to lead a successful business and implement change.
They are now on a path where there is evidence of a shared vision, aligned values, concise goals, clear reporting lines, support, reward and a real sense of a team success.
There have been casualties during the process, but this is both inevitable and positive as their values were not aligned to those of the organisation and they were ultimately not part of the future.
As a result of this particular leadership journey, the business has experienced an increase in productivity, a higher level of customer service and improved staff retention reducing their ongoing recruitment costs.
What happens if you don’t invest in future leaders?
At some point you, or your current leadership team will be ready to move on. But to ensure your business continues to thrive, you need to keep your best talent onboard and engaged.
If you don’t invest in your future leaders, they will leave.
A lack of high-potential, invested employees will contribute to poor productivity and engagement and will ultimately affect your bottom line. Study after study shows that businesses who invest in leadership development perform better than those that don’t.
No longer a ‘nice to have’
A Leadership Development Programme is critical to the ongoing success of your business.
As a leader, you will have created and articulated a vision for your future… now who is going to drive and implement that vision, and how?
It’s never too early to identify and develop future leaders. Many organisations don’t think about leadership development until there is a pressing need, but by that point it is often too late.
Come and talk to me about developing your future leaders – there’s no time like the present!
It’s 6.30am and I’m out running in my local town…
It’s a time of day I never really knew before having children, and an activity I’m only just coming to terms with. I’m doing it because I do not need to think for anyone else for the next hour.
Running hurts, it’s tough but keep going because although I could easily stop, something in my brain has switched off and my body just keeps going.
You see, that’s what I really love about that hour. For a whole hour, I don’t have to make a single decision.
The rest of my day is not like that. Every second I’m making a decision or telling someone else what to do. Hurry up, we’ll be late for school. What should I take out of the freezer for dinner? At work, how many sales have we hit this month? Who can I outsource that to? Where should I take my client to lunch? And perhaps most importantly, how I do ensure I am always motivating and inspiring others?
As women, we’re told we’re good at doing multiple things at once, but I suspect this is a plot to get us to DO multiple things at once.
Running a company and being a parent is not easy. It requires resilience and grace under pressure. It means you need to constantly show strength, even when you’re not feeling particularly strong,
I now understand the priorities surrounding my main dual roles, I can now live with 80% being good enough and believe that I’m a better business owner because of my role as a mum, and I’m a better mum because of my role as a business owner.”
Women in business now have huge opportunities – the irony is that the one thing standing in the way of them and success is the confidence that they can achieve it.
I witness this in my coaching practice too often. I sit across from women who are unsure of their value within the business, unsure of what they as individuals offer towards the growth and development plans. I can see their worth and to me their potential is obvious; to me they are born leaders.
It is the most rewarding experience to share in a women’s growth journey; to see her overcome the self-doubt and self-sabotage, gain the self-belief and address the balance, to feel the fear, to grit her teeth and to own it!
I think women still need to find their own leadership style and have the confidence to follow that through.
One of the things I want to do, personally, is help inspire women to do that. Part of it is about accepting that it’s good for men and women to have different goals and priorities in life. Not better, just different.
Walking into a room full of people you don’t know without the comfort of food and wine is a daunting experience for some, for others it is a welcome opportunity to grow a network of professional contacts.
Networking is an essential tool to your grow business. So, by reviewing your approach to networking and changing your opinion; from seeing it as an uncomfortable chore; to a fantastic low investment tool to source new business, will help you confront the fear and network like a ninja!
5 Tips For Successful Networking
Do your homework. Who will be there? Who will you know? Who will they be able to introduce you to? Arrange to go with a colleague who can introduce you to a someone you would like to build a relationship with.
Remember that everyone is in the same position. Nobody is there to be vindictive or embarrass you. Most people are prepared to help and support others. Be yourself. Be genuine. Join in.
Set yourself realistic goals. Who would you like to do business with? Aim to start between 1-3 new relationships. Also think about how many business cards you want to give out. Don’t work the room, don’t hustle!
Practice your icebreaker questions. Refer to your research and ask questions about a recent work project or award, or a paper/blog/book they recently published. Everyone loves talking about themselves!
Remember the most important, but commonly the most missed stage of networking, is the follow up. Make it personal. Refer to a common ground and something interesting you both discussed. Don’t be pushy. Work on building the relationship. Build rapport before closing the sale.
Networking doesn’t have to be daunting or hard work. The more events you attend, the more people you will recognise, the more relationships will develop and you will be surprised at how comfortable you feel.