“We know what we are, but we know not what we may be.” – William Shakespeare
There are a lot of fun, complex, mysterious things that go into leading an organization to sustained success. We’ll save those for another day. Today I was reminded of one of the most basic parts of leadership, one of the most basic parts of ensuring long term success as an organization. And it’s not complex or mysterious at all.
We only are given so many hours in the day, and we only have so much energy. And yet we spend our days running full speed from one thing to another without thinking about whether any of those things are actually worth spending our limited time and energy on. How many businesses out there are busy being busy? How many of them feel like they’re working as hard as they can possibly work without the results to show for it? How many of them actually recognize that their own lack of focus is the primary issue?
Every successful organization has a clear, measurable, definable understanding of where they are right NOW. They understand how profitable they are and why, they know where they stand in regards to whatever metrics they use, they understand their products & services, they understand their customers and how to market to them, they understand their people & processes in great detail. Even some organizations that aren’t very successful understand those things.
But the organizations who are really successful also have a clear, measurable, definable understanding of WHERE they want to be in the future. The know how profitable they want to be (or whatever other metrics they use), the know what products & services they want or need to offer down the road, they know what customers they want to do business with, the know what that means they’ll need in terms of people and processes. They know all that stuff in enough detail to draw it.
Does your business know all that stuff? Do you have such a clear vision of WHERE you want to be as an organization that you could draw a picture of it? If you don’t, how do you know that the stuff you’re spending all your time & energy on really matters? There are all kinds of skills & capabilities that great leaders possess, but if you lack focus and direction, most of them won’t matter.
If you don’t already know WHERE you’re going, take time to figure it out. Get help from your team, or a friend, or anybody else who might be valuable. And do it now. There’s no time (or energy) to waste.