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2020: Death of the Status-Quo Leader

2020 is catalyzing change in businesses across the globe. With that change, comes a new era of leadership. The time for status-quo leadership is over.

The rate at which the baby boomer generation exits the work force is increasing. Social media has given customers real-time information and power. Technology advances are accelerating, changing the nature of work. A clear example of this is the overnight adoption of remote work which, for many businesses is here to stay. This won’t be the only change, and most won’t be as obvious. Businesses will face tough decisions and need leadership that are comfortable navigating the coming technical and cultural migrations.

As the economy reshapes and recovers, board rooms around the world will be looking hard at their executive teams and assessing whether they are fit to meet the demands of tomorrow. Many of these businesses have a long history. Traditions of meaningful customer relationships and employees who have spent their entire career with the company. Brands have been built on these legacies. Yet, often attached to these legacies are outdated systems and practices that have long since fallen from relevance.

The post-2020 leader will need to answer a difficult question: How do you keep your business true to your legacy, while also stripping it of its inefficiencies?

Stranberg Resource Group has helped many legacy businesses solve this riddle. The answer always begins with getting the right people in the right seats. Expect the rate of change to speed up. Your leadership team will need to become fluent and effective in agile change management.

How do you carry the legacy forward without forgetting where it started? Here are some best practices to get started:

1) Know and commit to your values.

Your values are the DNA of your legacy and have played a central role in bringing your business this far. As you review your strategic plan and come to decisions, ask yourself “does this decision align with our values”? This approach to planning will provide clarity and help you to create an efficient decision making process.

2) Build a team of decision makers with diverse backgrounds.

Your team should challenge you. If your team is made up of people who think, look and act like you, you have created a dangerous echo chamber that increases the likelihood of making poor decisions. The modern business climate if full of risks, building a diverse team is your best way to ensure that you accurately parse threats and opportunities.

3) Listen to your advisors & accept difficult decisions.

Don’t hire a paper tiger. Turbulent times mean tough choices, and tough choices require advocates. If you trust people enough to bring them in the room, then become comfortable taking their advice.

You may face some bitter decisions in the future, but it’s better to swallow the bitter pill and move forward than it is to stagnate as the competition moves ahead.

4) Change starts at the top.

Leaders are the lynch pin, and they must be the change they wish to see at the business. All too often, hours of time and thousands of dollars are wasted because after the planning process is complete, the leaders fall right back into their old habits.

Make your business a glasshouse, act with intent with the full knowledge that the people of your business will see and follow you. [OR: Make your business a glasshouse, be a role model for change and it will proliferate down the organization.]

5) Hire Implementers, not Operators.

The number one mistake we see as talent advisors is clients that hire operators over implementers. If your business is preparing to go through a metamorphosis, you need leaders who can see the end line and lead the change process; Leaders who rally the team behind a common goal An operator is great at working with what they have and optimizing an existing system, but they will struggle and ultimately fail if asked to change it.


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