Can You Lead into the Future?

Strategy has to do with the future. Strategic thinking is thinking about the future. Strategic decisions happen when we incorporate the future into our decisions today. And a strategic plan rolls it all together with goals for execution and implementation.

Sound easy?

Research on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator shows that only 30% of people tested in the last five decades show a preference for acting and thinking about the future. The tides seem against most of us and when combined with a go-fast, urgent industry with variables beyond our control – it is tough. But there is something you can do. If you are a leader within an organization, your style influences whether or not you send the right signals about strategy and the future.

You may remember the best selling book by Daniel Goleman called “Emotional Intelligence.” In a recent article, Goleman correlated a leaders style with an organizations climate, culture and performance. Here are the styles and a brief description:

  • Affiliative … Creates harmony and builds emotional bonds. The leader believes “people come first.”
  • Democratic … forges consensus through participation. The leader asks, “What do you think?”
  • Visionary … Mobilizes people toward a vision. The leader says, “Come with me.”
  • Commanding … Demands immediate compliance. The leader instructs, “Do what I say.”
  • Pacesetting … Sets high standards for performance. The leader says, “Do what I do, now.”
  • Coaching … Develops people for the future. The leader says, “Try this.”

Goleman issues a call to action for leaders to adopt the styles that create a positive future for their company. Which style fits you and how can you do more of what works and less of what does not?

  • Negative styles - Commanding and Pacesetting
  • Positive styles - Affiliative, Democratic and Coaching
  • Best style - Visionary