By Paul David Walker, CEO Genius Stone Partners
Now is the time for business leaders to get centered for 2024.
In my book Invent Your Future, I shared that knowing how to invent the future was a strategic advantage in simpler economic eras. Now, you need this knowledge to survive.
Five Steps To Plan For The Coming Year
Back in the 1990s folk singer Pete Seeger turned some advice from wise King Solomon into a song called “Turn, Turn, Turn.” The lyrics say to everything there is a season, a time to plant, a time to reap, a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together.
If you believe it is the time to plan, then how do you best do it?
Step One. Define The Future. Start by articulating what you want your business to accomplish. What are your goals? Having a facilitator to help you guide these discussions is highly beneficial.
Step Two: Work Backwards. Once you understand that, then work backward to determine what you need to do to achieve those goals. Ask your leadership team questions like: How important are those goals? How will they add value to our business? A business leader should ask, how will they bring value to my life?
Step Three: Build Your Roadmap. Once you have the destination, then build a roadmap for getting there. What are the major mileposts you need to reach month by month and quarter by quarter?
Step Four: Align Your Team. Next, you need to align your team around your strategy and goals. Don’t just assume they’re going to follow the roadmap. You really need to talk with them so they understand why it’s important to them, why it’s important to the company, why it’s important to you as a leader, and be ready to execute given the dynamics that are likely to come.
Step Five: Monitor The Horizon. The other activity I recommend for business leaders is to read The Wall Street Journal and all the business press that predicts what’s going to happen in the economy and your industry. The media is not always right, but it gives you some idea as to how the economic winds are blowing. Trust me, it pays to be aware of what people are thinking and what they’re doing in your industry so that you can be on top of your game.
Now is the time for business leaders to plan.
Each insight is a flash of seeing into the true nature of things, and leads to another, providing you act on the first, if you don’t the spark dies, and an opportunity is missed. Being in “the zone,” simply described is one insight after another, acted upon in the flow of cause and effect. It is like dancing in perfect harmony with a band. Dancing to the rhythm and flow of the moment brings out our souls’ calling, and our natural genius, both of which have yearned to be expressed most of our lives.
As insight expands it can create momentum and turn into a compelling vortex that draws energy like a giant storm draws air. There is an attraction that brings in all manner of opportunities as the worlds, near and far, see a familiar intent and join an energy field that feels like their tribe; like going home again.
The key to creating a chain response of insights is our ability to act in the moment before the flash of insight fades. A professional athlete has the muscle memory from years of practice in a given sport to respond in this manner. But can business teams do the same? Why not, most have years of experience in their business. It is a matter of practicing the art of connecting insight to action as a basketball player responding during the flow of the game. A team of athletes has to practice so that when opportunity presents itself it is ready to act as a team in a fast break. Likewise a business team needs to do the same.
Knowing The Difference
An insight is a combination of two or more ideas merging to create a reality previously unknown. It has an expansive, curious, and inclusive feeling, even if stimulated by reading a poem, or seeing a painting. The observer and the observed becoming one to uncover new realities, paths, and understandings.
When ideas come from stored memory they seem to be cloaked with a “need to be right,” which prevents merging and expansion. It is like pulling the answer out of the internet or our past, the feeling lacks wonder, unlike a true insight. Only with practice do we learn the difference, but do not underestimate the tricks our egos can play on us.
First We Become a Team
The first step is becoming a team committed to each others’ success that knows each person’s strengths, weaknesses and potential. Each member of the team is committed to helping unleash each team player’s potential, the potential of the team, and business. This creates a safe field for innovation and exploration. Each understands and have expertise in their roles, and those roles synchronize to form a team ready to build on insight and act upon opportunities uncovered. This is a healthy high performance team.
Once you have a strong team, as described above, it is time to stimulate insight and action. To do this the leader and the team has to question the status quo, and collaborate to understand new realities, then act on solutions that lead to manifestation. One of the CEO’s I work with, Celso Pierre CEO of Goodridge Americas, developed the following values for his team.
We Work Together To …
• Bring a sense of possibility beyond the status quo
• Examine possibilities until solutions emerge
• Align our intentions to drive solutions
As this example illustrates, a clear compelling picture of the desired state is important. It is an aspirational statement that provides an understanding and a draw towards the ideal. A picture of the goal creates insight as we succeed or fail that is self-correcting in a positive manner. Insights that uncover hidden realities that are successfully acted upon create engagement. The purpose is for you and/or your team, as observer of the ideal, to become one with it, then create a new ideal.
The assumption that fuels insight, is understanding that there is no limit to what we can create together. As an individual I find that if I capture insights as they occur, not letting them fade, and take action, even deeper insights emerge. To facilitate this I always have my journal at hand to capture, understand and expand insights before the clarity fades. I allow time in my schedule to reflect. Likewise a team should have time as individuals and a team to reflect with the purpose of discovering “possibility beyond the status quo.” Business leaders who make this a priority tend to lead their sectors.
The Habit of Reflection
After a success it is easy for us to fall back into old patterns, as individuals and teams. So it is important that personal, professional and business growth is the default setting. Insight into the true nature of things followed by action invents futures that provide strategic advantage. To win consistently we have to teach each other, and those that follow us how to create a state of mind around insight that is similar to athletes “in the zone.” Each time I learn something my state of mind is lifted and I become committed to new levels of action. The same is true with teams. When creating insight is a natural habit, higher states of mind will drive intent and performance at all levels.
“Here you will find a treasure trove of distinctions, tools, and models that will allow you to engage people in a way that naturally harmonizes and enhances working with others—and that in turn advances the mission and purpose of the organization. More than that, you will be introduced to the thinking that guides and directs our most advanced leaders. There are years of learning available in Invent Your Future. Do not be surprised when, in the days and months to come, you find yourself referencing this book. It’s that good.” —John King, Bestselling Author of Tribal Leadership
Paul David Walker, CEO of Genius Stone Partners works with domestic and international companies to improve their bottom line today and plan for the future. He works with the CEOs, founders, boards, and executive teams to accelerate the performance of their business, the growth of their leaders, and the health and well-being of their organizational culture. He has been a business leadership adviser to the CEOs of Fortune 500 and midsize companies for over 30 years. He is the author of four books, including Invent Your Future and Unleashing Genius.
Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC Divisions
Testing Division provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style & personality assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, skills testing, domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication.
Business Consulting for Higher Productivity Division provides stress & time management workshops, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills, leadership training, market research, staff planning, operations, ERP/MRP selection and implementation, refining a remote work force, M&A including due diligence – success planning – value creation and much more.
To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.
If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, extension 403, firstname.lastname@example.org & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.
Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2023