Leadership Advantage: Leading forward

November 10, 2020 -  By
Road into the future (Photo: tortoon/iStock / Getty Images Plus /Getty Images)

Photo: tortoon/iStock / Getty Images Plus /Getty Images

The end of any year is a good time to learn from the past and look to the future. The year 2020 will surely be one for the history books.

Over the last few years, when Envisor would sit down with our clients to facilitate their strategic planning sessions, we looked to 2020 as a somewhat symbolic milestone. The year 2020, to us, represented the need for clarity. In a reference to 20/20 optical perfection, we worked with our clients to help them clearly envision their future and build a focused plan to get there … or here, as it is now.

As part of those planning sessions we analyzed strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (also known as a SWOT analysis). In the threats section, we always listed labor pool, weather, economic cycles and even geopolitical issues as potential obstacles to success. For some reason, we never listed a pandemic as a threat. Who would’ve thunk?

The impact of the pandemic has been broad and diverse for all of us, both professionally and personally.

As business leaders and humans, we’ve wrestled with emotions that have affected the way we live. On the downside, these emotions have included fear, anxiety, anger and even depression. On the positive side, we’ve experienced relief, hope for the future and a sense of gratitude. We’ve all responded differently based on our individual personalities and circumstances.

So, where do we go from here, and what’s our role as individuals and as leaders to move ourselves, our businesses and our families forward?

For me, it starts with a recalibration of sorts. This year, more than ever, strong leadership is needed. This is the time of year when we tweak our vision for the next five years, personally and professionally, fine-tune our long-term strategic road map and lay out our tactical initiatives that will make 2021 and beyond wildly successful.

Effective leaders are always looking ahead, so they can lead the way. They don’t stop thinking about the future. They learn from the past, and they never stop planning for success. To prepare for the next season of life and business, here are a few recommendations for leaders at home or at the office. Deep breath … ready?

1. Check yourself. Take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself if you’re standing on solid ground. Is anything holding you back personally? What do you need to do to prepare yourself to lead? Do you need an attitude check? A lifestyle change? Do you need to clear the air and or mend any relationships to lead from a position of strength? As the airlines say, “Put the oxygen mask on yourself before you try to help others.”

2. Finish strong. 2020 is not over! The hardest gains in any endeavor come from a drive through the finish line. The last 100 yards, the last 5 pounds, the final 1 percent of profit. Rally yourself and your team to win the year.

3. Look to the future. Great leaders are always looking ahead and identifying or refocusing on the target. Leaders paint the picture for future success and work to inspire their teams to move forward.

4. Build a plan. Leaders lay the rails that lead the organization toward its greater success. Gather the team, develop the road map and assign accountabilities. Be the leader.

5. Consider your legacy. Remember, your actions as a leader are powerful and impact lives more than you know. Choose your approach carefully and make a positive difference in the lives of those around you.

2020 has been tough but not all bad. For some of us, this year, with all of its twists and turns, may turn out to be the most transformative year of our businesses and our lives. As we look in the rearview mirror, let’s take inventory of what we learned and how we reacted as leaders and as a team. Our industry has held up pretty well and the future is bright before us. Now, check out the road ahead, get after it and lead forward!

About the Author:

Thomas, founder of Envisor Consulting, has owned three of Atlanta’s most successful landscape companies. He is the COO of The Greenery and principal of Envisor Consulting. Reach him at kenthomas@envisorco.com.

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