Cool Question: What’s not going to change in our business over the next ten years? With so much focus on what is going to be different about our business wouldn’t it be smart to ask the opposite question.
I got the question from an article about Jeff Bezos founder of Amazon.com. He and his team of innovators ask themselves the question on a regular basis to ensure they don’t focused on the pillars of their business.
What do you think will be the same 10 years from now in our business?
I flipped open this months issue of The Harvard Business Review and caught this ad for Shell. Putting all views of the world of oil aside, I love this ad. It made me wonder out loud about how many times I may have stuffed a good idea because I said, "No, that won’t work, we’ve tried it before." If you are faced with the powerful motion of NO tomorrow, try saying Yes, Do that!
There are many variations of the following principle out there so I’ll make no claims of a new approach. That being said I think there is a tremendous value in creating goals and or targets to shoot for in your personal and professional life. To illustrate, I heard a speech sometime back given by the famed Zig Ziglar where he quipped, "How can you hit a target you do not have?" It was an a-ha moment for me and I have since made it an annual exercise to write down some goals, usually around New Years Day.
The goals were usually targeted for the following year and they were more about things that I wanted as opposed the person I was to become. Please note that I am not suggesting that "thing goals" are not good or necessary. They are very necessary. However, that should not be the end of the exercise. If it is, that is somewhat short-sighted. I decided that my targets should really be further out there, more big picture if you will.
All that being said, I want to share this as an exercise you can do with those you lead. Try it and let me know how it turns out.
1. Have your direct reports Imagine that they are deceased. Morbid I know but stick with me.
2. Then have them imagine that they get a chance to come back to address those they provided influence to in their lives. Both Good and Bad.
3. Have them write a speech or create a power point presentation. *Note, it’s not an apology speech. It is a speech about the lessons they have learned via this vehicle we call life.
4. Have them deliver that speech to their associates.
What does this accomplish? Clarity and Purpose. Do you want to develop amazing leaders in this industry? Do you want to be one yourself? Do you want to be responsible for the development of amazing people? Take the time to have them complete the above steps and be patient.
The assignment will be challenging and heartfelt if taken seriously and it will define the absolutes that guide ones life. Values, if you will.
Once those goals and or targets are defined we can go to work helping the person(s) become the great leaders of tomorrow.