Monday, April 19, 2010

“Manage Like There Will Be A Tomorrow”

We’ve all heard the inspiring call to action “live like there’s no tomorrow.” While this urgent directive can be helpful to get us out of our comfort zone for some things, it is decidedly unsound for the long term. I think something very different is required of those that manage and lead organizations in today’s volatile business economy. We have to manage and lead like there will be a tomorrow. To some, this may sound like the bar has been lowered to a plane just above survival. However, taking on this confident mindset is a prerequisite for surviving and thriving in the downturn.

In trying to sum up the impact of the collective change that I see managers and leaders experiencing across industries, I’ve described it as an “elegant disintegration of all things grasped for.” In practical terms, it means we don’t know which way is up…everything that we thought we knew now seems to be in question…and it doesn’t feel like much of anything can be counted upon. In fact, over the last six months most of my coaching and consulting clients have had one major goal in common – they want to establish at least some predictability during these incredibly uncertain times. More specifically, they are striving to establish meaningful strategies and action plans that can carry them through.

The first step in creating these strategies and plans is to make the conscious choice that the future can be shaped. I have always believed that today is the best preview of tomorrow. The attitudes that influence our thinking and inform the total set of adaptive choices we make and actions we take today are the best prediction of what tomorrow will hold. Therefore, making this subtle, but very powerful shift in thinking – we are managing like there will be a tomorrow – is the start of confidently putting one foot in front of the other. This is the surest way to get a foothold into a productive path forward.

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