All businesses face a myriad of problems that, like midges, suck blood and energy from them. Having problems is normal unless they turn into deadly challenges.
Challenges demand not problem-solving but solution-finding which allows for eradicating a potential threat in the long term. Finding a solution begins with pattern recognition as every challenge comes as a result of multiple serious problems and thus, they all have a pattern behind them. We can find an effective long-lasting solution to something we are aware of. In simple words, name it right before solving it effectively.
When a challenge or a grand problem is recognized, then it is a time to think and talk about solutions, not about problems. In personal or business life, we mainly hear people talk about problems. Great leaders talk about solutions. Talking about problems only causes more problems.
Through my visionary leadership coaching practice, I listen to hundreds of CEOs, top executives, and business owners from across the globe sharing the three most common challenges they all face in this turbulent time.
Hitting a glass ceiling
A glass ceiling is a term usually referred to in regard to a personal career. Yet, this is a serious challenge for businesses as well. While the markets develop, a company’s growth remains boxed.
One of the European software companies with 120 employees faces difficulty growing. They changed location, actively recruiting new team members internationally, and are still producing the same things they produced before. Still, they are not growing as projected, the outcome is the same as before, and falling capitalization restricts investments.
This challenge is caused by old thinking – that a bigger team means a better result and growth. In fact, this is not always true. The company grows when its market niche grows. The company shrinks when its market niche shrinks.
Vision defines a growing market niche, whereas a product doesn’t. Investing in a product is a blind bet without a strong and compelling vision in which this product resides. Vision is a space in the future that creates new markets and has massive potential for expansion. A product is only a fraction of that market with a bounded life span.
Being focused on a product doesn’t allow seeing strategic opportunities that the market offers. Old thinking restricts acting proactively into the future and dictates to be reactive to the accounting while staying in the same position.
Losing leading positions
Losing leading positions is painful and faced by many, regardless of industry and size.
A mid-size engineering company, previously at the top of its industry, now is hovering above the line with a bleak economic perspective. Team engagement is fairly low and only a very few loyal employees are left in the company, soon to be retired. Previously lean and recourse-effective company is facing a lack of resources. The last innovation was celebrated almost a decade ago.
Company leaders are busy with sales strategies instead of developing value-adding strategies. Fighting against digits instead of taking care of exploring and expanding doesn’t make anyone win in the marketplace. Growth is defined by the ability to scale value as no one can scale a price tag.
Leaders often believe in money but money can’t buy meaning. People are engaged if they see a meaning greater than they are. The value created for others is the core of a great meaning people will go for.
Vision stands behind value for customers, that so important ‘why’ of employees, and an ability to create more with less. Vision is for winners.
The potential is a gift to be utilized, not wasted. However, many businesses are concerned about improvement while fast-changing market realities demand a leap to remain at the top of the game.
One of my clients, a mid-size private bank with a few thousand employees at almost one hundred branches faces stagnation regardless of seemingly consistent improvement. The reality showed that improvement is not enough when competition is tough. Over almost one hundred years, the bank generated a lot of untapped potentials which is overlooked and so, wasted. In simple words, they have a micro-focus on the present instead of a macro view of the future. Lack of clarity causes inner turbulence as a result of conflicting energies of different groups of employees.
The bank’s employees are wired to improve by doing an extra couple of percent compared to the last year and therefore, are thinking about today only. The improvement shows that we are still capable of doing more within our boundaries. We need a clear and captivating vision to break those boundaries. This is where making people think about the future is so important. People who are wired to think ten years into the future will make a leap into that prosperous future today.
All three challenges have one commonality – lack of a strong and compelling vision and ability to tap into the future with confidence. Of course, the future doesn’t send an email to anyone with clear plans. It demands a clear vision.
To win in the marketplace, a vision and goals must be greater than problems. Vision is a multidimensional space in the future that reflects the value offered for people and defines market capitalization as a result of people responding to this value offered.
The greatness of a vision matters more than the size of the organization or any promises made on dreams. Great vision allows organizations to grow and remain valuable for many years ahead.
Do you recognize one of these challenges? If yes, act now, create, and execute a strong vision that will allow mastering the future.
Written by Dr. Oleg Konovalov.
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