By Craig Johns
How will you be a step ahead of the game? You cannot take a backward step or watch from the back of the bus. Firstly, you will only ever see the back of your competitors and secondly, you will be too late to correct the wheel when the bus overshoots the bend.
If you are a leader, then you need to be a step ahead of the game when it comes to the future and having a winning culture.
STEP 1 – FUTURE
As a leader it is your role to identify – What problem has yet to be solved? A problem that, if solved, has a positive impact on the way people live.
You need to create a solution that shapes the future and gives you the competitive advantage. Taking a proactive lead ensures that you set the standard for everyone else, who, if not on their A-game, will turn their focus to chasing and following you, rather than keeping their eye on the prize.
“A GOOD hockey player plays where the puck is. A GREAT hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”
Most overnight successes occur through clever foresight, smart planning and a lot of hard work, rather than the one in a million lottery ticket approach. You need to look ahead and know what the game will look like in 5, 10 or even 25 years time and then you need to do everything possible, to be the first across the line.
Starting with the question – Wouldn’t it be great if we … ? – allows you to establish a starting point for determining what problem has yet to be solved. Apple asked the question – wouldn’t it be great if we could sell singles rather than albums? This led to iTunes and the iPod being solutions to the problem of not having an easily accessible platform, which the music industry trusted, to access and listen to singles rather than albums.
“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.”
Your role is not to follow and react when something goes wrong or your competitors get the first run on the board. Kodak learnt the hard way when Don Strickland presented the idea of the digital camera. The Board of Directors were split on the idea and it was turned down, knowing they owned the 35mm manual camera market. Don left Kodak and took the idea to Apple, who said yes. They successfully acquired the intellectual property from Kodak and Apple changed the way we viewed and stored our memories forever, while Kodak suffered a cruel death over the following years.
“If it doesn’t scare you, you’re probably not dreaming big enough.”
So how will you lead the future of your industry, company, team or community? Remember, the easiest way to predict the future is to create it. A great leader personifies the future and has the ability to create a world that reflects their inner world. They live in the future they invite us into.