March 9, 2010

Managing for The Future Adds Value Today

Management is naturally in the moment. Challenges come to managers every day, hour and even less.

Yet there is wisdom in developing a mindset that seeks and effective future for the team too.

From experience, most managers don’t get ‘the future’ right away – they busy themselves with just today’s issues, which is, to be frank, quite understandable, if a bit short-sighted. Their days fill up with chaos and fire-fighting, because that’s where the urgency seems to be.

Crises are seemingly sent to make the day’s workload – every day – with only a hope that things will ‘get better one day’.

This is no way to exist, yet so often it’s a hole that managers get into and find it hard to clamber out of.

So, tactical activities have to be handled and, of course, for some of them, they take a bit of the priority in the day job to start off with.

There is another way to make progress as well. The best managers are able to recognize that it’s vital to step up to grasp the future, fitting components of it in whilst delivering what’s expected of them for today as well.

Planning for the future opens a lot of doors for you and every member of your team, in ways that can only lead to management and team success.

That success, when it is pitched the right way, will lead to improved opportunities in the future as well as, when leveraged well, making the workplace of today a lot less chaotic too.

Managers often look for short-term tactical solutions, rather than invest a little time in thinking about what their future needs are. yet, with some ability to ask what the future might need, they are able to position the short-term with the business needs for the longer term too.

The alternative is more of the same, which is depressing and demoralizing for all concerned, managers and their teams.

When ‘perception’ is that they only have time for the fire-fighting actions to get them through the day, rather than value-creating investment time that makes the difference, the struggle of today will be the same tomorrow – and the next day and the day after, disappearing over the horizon into every day.

As a consequence, looking at future needs doesn’t ever get started and before they know it that future is tomorrow – and then today.

Strangely, nothing has changed or gotten better – and the cycle continues. By grasping an opportunity to stick a stake in the ground right now and start to see what the future will need, there will be solutions sought and found.

Along the way, today begins to get fixed. And everyone gets happier and more effective too.

Filed under Blog, Building the Future, Developing Your People, Management Basics by Martin

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