Preparing Tomorrow's Leaders Starts Today

By Dr. Geri McArdle

The author of Prepare Tomorrow’s Leaders Today, Scott Steinberg, was published in the January 2016 TD Magazine, where it was noted that he believed that change remained exponentially important in today’s business world all thanks to the advancements in technology and communication.

Here Steinberg suggested that, “…scrappy young start-ups are continually disrupting markets, customer behaviors are constantly changing, and new trends are replacing old.” From my perspective, with over 25 years in training and performance improvement, the future will be far from predictable.

Big and small organizations in our community constantly search for new ways to improve their products, delivery systems, customer ratings, and employee satisfaction. By initiating the interest in improvements, they will strive to adapt to the change that is happening in order to keep up with maintaining customer satisfaction.

As human resource employees and training practitioners, we too must seek to foster better relationships with our business partners and clients in order to assist with the development of the staff. This remains an important aspect that could be used to be able to accept and cope with these somewhat expected, yet changes nonetheless in the market section of a business and in our own lives.

Not being willing to change will promote stagnation in our lives. Not changing is something we should fear more than change itself. Steinberg states, “… the next ten years will bring more change than the prior 10,000.  What’s more, market evolution also is happening at a blistering clip.”  These rapid changes, and the need for tomorrow’s leaders to be ready in order to accept new challenges is the single biggest issue that is currently facing our community’s business and educational institutions now! 

Millennial Leader 01

It’s All about Training and Education

The January 2016 article by Scott Steinberg described four of the most common challenges one could face. It also addressed answers on how better to equip organizations, and colleagues when changes are afoot.

  1. Spotting and reacting to new trends: According to Steinberg, “…studies conducted by PwC’s Strategy division into the world’s most innovative businesses – companies such as Apple, Google, and Amazon suggest that the best source of innovative new ideas is simply listening to customers and partners, empowering frontline workers to regularly act on their insights.” This is all needed by helping “give employees the tools, platforms, and communication systems they need to capture client insights” for the betterment of the company.
  2. Bringing creativity and innovation to life: Teaching employees that there are two types of failure: Failure with a capital F (the huge, costly disaster), as well as failure with a lowercase f (small, quick, cost-effective) are learning experiments that every working professional and business should constantly be engaging in. These differences are important to note, so that the company can see how failure, on both a small and large scale, can be impactful.
  3. Dealing with disruption: For success to be imminent in hugely disruptive environments, one cannot avoid risks. Steinberg details the “Starbucks way” which is “… rather be first than flawless, make mistakes than miss an opportunity, and fall flat than fail to be swifter to established market beachheads than rivals.”
  4. Identifying tomorrow’s leaders: “Tomorrow’s leaders will possess only two defining characteristics; the ability to solve problems and create results.” Steinberg described the company Intuit.  Workers are encourage to come up with ideas and use online collaboration tools for the security of resources, support, and insights from peers. They then can go to markets with real-world prototypes without getting the management or legal team’s approval.

Skills for the Future

Millennial Leader 02The article then concludes with a list of capabilities and tools needed to succeed in businesses of today and tomorrow.  Here was where the skills that should be taught to students and employees for a world where systems routinely break down, variables are consistently changing, and uncertainty remains the only thing that was certain. 

  1. Make smarter decisions
  2. Manage time
  3. Maximize effort
  4. Focus on long-term goals
  5. Think fluidly
  6. Embrace failure
  7. Future-proof
  8. Fix problems

To summarize this article, Steinberg’s final words are, “…be bold. Be creative. Be open to new perspective.” Together businesses could learn a lot in order to create more leaders of tomorrow.  

About the Author

Geri McArdle has been a practitioner in the human resource field for 25 years. She has published nine books on human productivity and numerous juried research articles in professional journals... a founding member of our Chapter, an international trainer and consultant, she now spends her time in Fort Myers. 

You can read more by Dr. McArdle in our monthly chapter newsletters.

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