…To Improve you have to Try.”
Earlier this month we proudly launched the third in a series of business alignment books specifically addressing the unique leadership challenges of corporate leaders as they strive to create sustainable value for their stakeholders. In nearly all of my coaching engagements, speeches and workshops, the question of value, which I also use synonymously with relevance, comes up in the discussion. It is an issue all leaders grapple with and is complex in that it means something different to just about everyone! So, what does creating sustainable value entail in order to create desired results?
- To learn you have to listen ~ Whenever we do sales-related coaching, we spend time early in the discussion with the concept of helping others buy, not selling to them. This requires effective listening to understand what is valuable to the prospect or client. In similar fashion, leaders of teams must listen effectively for much the same reasons. Creating sustainable value requires a level of listening that generates trust between leader and team and allows the leader to truly learn the intersection of team value and leveraging that value to achieving the desired results of the strategy!
- Think differently to do differently ~ It is fair to say that staying relevant over time requires new attitudes and mindset around what value means now versus what it meant last year or five years ago. If the listening described above is filtered through old thinking, the context needed to generate new value will be lost. Effective leaders read regularly and are continuously learning. They have a built-in learning process that allows them to embrace and model new thinking for their team. Creating new value begins with new attitudes that transcend any previous definition and always requires change!
- To improve you have to act ~ I am taking some literary license here with the original version of the title quote by Thomas Jefferson. Creating sustainable success and relevance requires conscious action to create new value. Unfortunately, this need to act always bumps up against the past and generates resistance to change, especially if the previous definition of value still lingers in the organization. The intent to act is not enough in today’s dynamic business environment. Many of my own clients have heard me ask, when they talk about trying to do something new, “How do we take ‘try’ out of your last statement?” It is crucial the value is actually realized through deliberate action to creating sustainable success!
Staying relevant means the definition of value evolves and changes over time. In many cases, this change can happen at a pace that challenges even the most effective leaders. But effective leaders know that the future will belong to those leaders who create the change today because a successful tomorrow will demand it!
How is your leadership creating sustainable value for your organization and how do you know?