Robert-photo-w-icon-150-4-7-10-FINAL4-150x150When I served in senior leadership roles, it was a constant struggle to break away from current challenges so I could focus on the future. Everyday problems relentlessly seek to attract your attention, and it’s easier to deal with these – you’ve seen them all before.

Contemplating what’s next for your business is the bigger challenge, and a great opportunity. It forces you to get your head up, to look outward and to assess the unknown. And no one else in your organization is responsible for defining your future – if you don’t do it, no one else will.

Developing new strategies, discovering innovative products or services, improving processes are change initiatives – and change is the work of leaders. Change is about seeking to get better, to push beyond boundaries and to grow. Without change, there is only mediocrity and the slow decay to failure.

Leveraging change to create your future requires energy, foresight, knowledge and engagement. Most innovations do not come from leaders; typically, they are discovered by those who do the work. Or, they are the result of engagement with customers, industry sources or other stakeholders.

Leaders facilitate change. They listen and learn; they search for opportunity everywhere. Leaders test limits and take risks, seeking small victories to build momentum, but knowing that disappointment and mistakes are inevitable, the price for progress and growth.

Seize Initiative. Challenge your people to transform your business. People do their best work when presented with an opportunity to change things and make a difference.

Engage. Reach out and interact with others – employees, customers, suppliers, industry leaders.  Provide a forum to share knowledge and deliberate new ideas.

Experiment. Identify a bold idea and progress towards it by managing risk – taking incremental steps, persevering through challenges and barriers, learning from experience, and rewarding small wins.

Searching for opportunity begins by challenging the status quo and tenaciously pursuing improvement and innovation.

How much time do you invest searching for new opportunities to create your company’s future?

What must you do to encourage initiative and innovation in your organization?