How a Leader’s DNA Impacts Strategic Planning

One of the most important things organizations do is set strategic direction. Strategy is our ‘secret sauce’ for success and should provide a business with competitive advantage. However, each person develops strategy differently. As a result, individual differences can sometimes make strategic planning a frustrating process.

One way to minimize frustration and maximize differences is explained through an academic idea called temporal orientation (also called time orientation). Stated simply, we each have a unique, hard-wired way we approach and think about time (or temporality). Each of us view and interpret life through one of the following time orientations;

  1. The past,
  2. The present, or,
  3. The future.

If you have a past orientation, you make plans by assessing what can be learned from history. Those with a present orientation evaluate their current circumstances in order to make decisions. If you have a future orientation, you think and dream about what could be before you make plans. Each of these orientations is valuable for different reasons. Furthermore, each one presents opportunities and limitations.

Similarly, organizational strategic planning processes are also rooted in these three orientations. People who are past oriented tend to use historic data, charts, trend-lines and lessons-learned to inform strategic thinking. Those who are more present oriented gravitate to activities like SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) or SOAR (strengths, opportunities, aspirations, results). Those wired with future orientation use the discipline of strategic foresight (trend identification, scenario development, driving force identification and futurists) as their tools to plan.

So which time orientation is best? You guessed it – they all are! The absence of any one perspective will lead to gaps in your strategy. For example, what occurs if:

  • You fail to learn from lessons of the past?
  • You forget to leverage the resources/skills of the present?
  • You neglect to plan and adapt for the changes of tomorrow?

Experience shows that if this concept is not understood by a team (particularly during strategic planning exercises), an invisible tug-of-war will occur. When this occurs, our different time orientations will become a weakness instead of a strength (as a past argues with a future about the best way to approach things). It is also my experience that the future orientation is most difficult for teams to productively spend time on. Since discussions about the future revolve around ‘what-if’s’ and uncertainty, most organizations unknowingly rely on past and present styles because they feel more tangible. While past and present styles can develop good strategy, they will often produce results which focuses on yesterday’s problems.

Strong strategic planning processes need to intentionally involve all three of these perspectives. Effective leaders learn from the past, leverage the present and prepare for the future.


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Dr. Jeff Suderman is a futurist, consultant, and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Contact him today to find out how he can help enhance your strategic planning processes – jeff@jeffsuderman.com.

Photo Credit – FreeImages.com

Peg Thoms & David Greenberger (1995). The relationship between leadership and time orientation. The journal of management inquiry (4:3).

Questions to ask during one-on-one’s

Clients sometimes ask for input on how to conduct great one-on-one meetings with their team members. One suggestion is to ask good questions. A recent blog post at Soapbox provided 9 helpful questions to consider.

  1. What are your biggest time wasters?
  2. What does our organization/department need to start doing?
  3. Would you like less or more direction from me about your work? In which area(s)?
  4. Are you getting enough feedback about your work? Where are the gaps?
  5. What could I do to make your job easier?
  6. Is there an aspect of your job that you need more help or coaching with?
  7. How could we improve the way our team works together?
  8. On a scale of 1-10, how challenged are you at work?
  9. What organizational strategy or goal are you least clear about

What do you think? Which questions are missing? Are there any you don’t like? I’d love to hear your experiences!

Thanks to Brennan at Soapbox for the great content!


Head ShotDr. Jeff Suderman is a futurist, consultant, and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Email: jeff@jeffsuderman.com

Is Leadership a Noun or a Verb?

We often use the words ‘leaders’ and ‘leading’ interchangeably. However, I believe there is a significant difference between these two terms. So what is this difference? At the heart of this answer lies a simple lesson in grammar.

You see, one of these words is a noun (leader) and one is a verb (to lead). If you are rusty on your grammar (as I am), here is a quick reminder:

A noun is the name of a person, place, thing, or idea.

A verb is a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence.

When we bestow the title of ‘leader’ on someone, we are referring to a person which makes it a noun. The noun leader describes a role, a position or an office. When we use the word leader as a noun, we focus on the title of leadership. This may be earned (such as a President), it may be bestowed by others (when you are asked to be a team leader) or it may even be inferred (when everyone at the boardroom table looks to you for an answer). Leader is a noun.

However, a person who is a leader (noun) does not necessarily lead (verb). Just because you have been granted a title does not mean you are actually leading. When we use the verb ‘leading’, we focus on the actions of leadership and not the role. Leading may be through our words (Jesus telling his disciples “come follow me”), our actions (standing up to a bully) or our thoughts and visions (Martin Luther Jr. stating “I have a dream”). Leading is a verb.

This means that a leader may not necessarily be leading (because a title and our actions are different). It also means that leading will not always occur by someone who is a leader (because our actions and our title may be different).

As I brushed up on my grammar, I discovered another interesting lesson;

Any English noun can be verbed, but some are more resistant than others.

I cannot read this statement without thinking of the names of people that I have worked with over my lifetime. Some of them seemed to effortlessly use their roles of leadership to accomplish amazing things. They were very good and verbing their noun! However, I can also think of others who held wonderful positions but were inadequate at acting on their duties. They had difficulty verbing their noun. Their verbing process was resistant.

This simple reminder about nouns and verbs, leaders and leading, boils down to the important practice of execution. No matter what title they hold or how knowledgeable they are, the only way a person can lead is by verbing their noun. Effective employees become leaders by verbing their noun! In other words, a title does not make a leader a leader – the act(s) of leading make a leader a leader!

So is leadership a noun or a verb? You can make the choice. But in my world, I know that I look for the verbing process!


 

Head ShotDr. Jeff Suderman an educator, consultant and pracademic who works in the field of organizational development. He is actively working to verb his noun. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman

 

20 More Quotable Quotes from the Global Leadership Summit 2015 Part II

Today’s post contains 20 more great quotes from speakers at the Global Leadership Summit last week. If you missed the first post you can access it here.

  1. Art isn’t about drawing; it’s about learning to see. What organization doesn’t need this ability? Ed Catmull (Pixar Pictures)
  2. Talent can get you to the top but only character will keep you there. Craig Groeschel
  3. We don’t hire people we select people. This is the first step to employing caring people. Horst Schultze
  4. In a growing company you are under-qualified every day. Liz Wiseman
  5. When God asks you a question, remember that it’s not because he doesn’t know the answer. Sam Adeyemi
  6. I don’t want a job I am qualified for because then I’d have nothing to learn! Work satisfaction increases as our level of work challenge increases. Liz Wiseman
  7. Whenever we delegate tasks we create followers. When we delegate authority we develop leaders. Craig Groeschel
  8. No one can claim superiority over another human being. Horst Schultze
  9. When we professionally linger too long on a plateau a little part of ourselves dies. Liz Wiseman
  10. You cannot do leadership without a source of regenerative strength. What is your source? Bill Hybels
  11. It is immoral to hire people to perform a function. I hire them to join my dream. Horst Schultze
  12. The rookie zone is powerful because we don’t like it. As a result, we work hard to reduce the tension. This produces great results, ones which are often beyond the expected capacity of a rookie. Liz Wiseman
  13. As an organization changes your mindset as a leader also has to change. This becomes the lid to you organization. Whenever my organization starts to settle I believe I have to lift my lid, my capacity I have to think and act in a different way to achieve different results. Craig Groeschel
  14. Signs that your performance is at a plateau | the remedy to your plateau:
    – Things are running smoothly | Throw away your notes.
    – You already have the answers | Become the one who asks the questions.
    – You get positive feedback | Admit what you don’t know to others.
    – You’ve become the mentor | Let someone else lead.
    – You’re busy but bored | It’s time to disqualify yourself and put yourself at the bottom of a learning curve.  Liz Wiseman
  15. The five C’s of expanding your capacity.
    Build your confidence.
    2. Expand your connections.
    3. Improve your competence.
    4. Strengthen your character. If character is not strengthening your capacity is weakening. We need to check our leadership for leaks.
    5. Increase your commitment.

Sheila Heen, co-author of the book Thanks for the Feedback provided my favorite session. I have grouped her quotes as they flow best together.

  1. We each have two human needs: To learn and grow & to be respected, accepted and loved the way you are. Even though feedback facilitates learning and growth, it conflicts with our need to feel respected. This is a key reason we resist feedback. Sheila Heen
  1. The fastest way for an organization to improve feedback is for the leader to personally model it. Sheila Heen
  2. There are three kinds of feedback and organizations must utilize all three to be effective:
    Evaluation. This rates you against standards and peers. It lets you know where you stand.
    2. Coaching. This information helps you get better and learn. It is an engine for learning.
    3. Appreciation. Most desire for feedback is usually for appreciation. It motivates us. Sheila Heen
  3. 93% of employees feel underappreciated. When work gets difficult, appreciation is the first thing to drop. Sheila Henn
  4. Evaluation and coaching get tangled together. When this occurs, the noise of evaluation drowns out coaching efforts. Think of this like a term paper. When you get your assignment grade back (evaluation) you tend to tune out the professor notes in the margins (coaching) if the grade is higher or lower than expected. Sheila Heen

 

Head Shot

Dr. Jeff Suderman is a leader-in-process, consultant and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman

20 Quotable Quotes from the Global Leadership Summit 2015 Part I

Last week I had the privilege of attending the annual two-day Global Leadership Summit (via video feed). I was impressed by the depth of speakers, the quality of the content and the level of personal challenge that I encountered. In order to pass along the goodness, today’s blog contains 20 of my favorite quotes.

  1. True leadership only exists if people follow what they have the freedom to not follow. James McGregor Burns.
  2. If you show me who you are being influenced by I will show you what you are becoming. Craig Groeschel
  3. Dissatisfied customers are reputation terrorists. Horst Schultze
  4. I am not failing – I am growing! Do you have the ability to reframe failure as growth in order to achieve your goals? Jim Collins
  5. We all have strengths, weaknesses and blind spots. In fact, an average person has 3.4 blind spots. Bill Hybels
  6. Other people have all kinds of information about you that is invisible to you. How do you get feedback? Sheila Heen
  7. Complacency is a stealthy thing. It enters our house as a guest and then it acts as the host before it becomes our master. Liz Wiseman
  8. If leaders don’t have an antidote for fear they will be crushed by it. What is your antidote? Bill Hybels
  9. The consequence of following you should hold the promise of positive life change for those who do so. Sam Adeyemi
  10. Many leadership problems are driven by low self-awareness. Bill Hybels
  11. Creative leadership impact increases in your 50’s. When I turn 50 I want to say, “Nice start!” Jim Collins
  12. It is not the absence of money that makes you poor. It is the absence of vision and ideas. Sam Adeyemi
  13. If you have a charismatic cause you don’t need to be a charismatic leader. Jim Collins
  14. How can you succeed by helping others succeed? We succeed at our very best only when we help others succeed. Jim Collins
  15. Effective leaders have grit. Grit development demands difficulty. The archenemy of grit is ease. Billy Hybels
  16. Be rigorous about your HR decisions. There is a difference between rigorous and ruthless. Jim Collins.
  17. Sometimes our organizations don’t grow because our leader fails to believe in the abilities of their followers. Liz Wiseman
  18. Leadership grit begets grit. Lead by example. Bill Hybels
  19. Your brain does not understand what you are capable of. There is way more inside of you than you can imagine. Craig Groeschel
  20. Don’t take care of your career. Take care of your people. They will take care of your career. Jim Collins

Later this week I will post part II. Stay tuned for 20 more great quotes…


 

Head Shot

Dr. Jeff Suderman is a leader-in-process, consultant and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman

Leading Globally: Individualistic vs. Collective Cultures

Me or We?

Cultural studies reveal that one of these two biases drives how you prioritize and make decisions. Those who come from a strong collective cultures practice, encourage and reward collective distribution of resources and collective action. In contrast, individualistic cultures reward efforts which promote individual success.

The chart below illustrates some of the most common differences between individualistic or collective cultures. At the bottom of this blog you will find a reference chart which provides specific results for the 62 countries in the GLOBE study.

Collectivism

These biases can be observed in both in national, organizational and family structures. At times, we learn to exhibit different practices in our different environments. A cut-throat work environment may cause you to act individualistically in the office while your South American cultural heritage may foster strong collectivism in other relationships.

While some cultural insights help explain fascinating cultural differences, I find that differences in individualistic/collective worldviews can be the cause of significant conflict. An inner bias of ‘me’ or ‘we’ is a very strong personal driver and, as a result, can fuel intense conflict! As a result, it is critical for effective leaders to be able to assess the individualistic or collective preferences of those they work with.

This blog is part 5 of an 8 part series on global leadership. You may enjoy reviewing some previous posts: Gender EqualityAssertivenessFuture Orientation and, Performance Orientation.

NOTE: The content above has been adapted from the seminal work on global leadership commonly called The GLOBE Leadership Study. It assessed 62 different countries and identified important cultural and leadership norms. The results of this massive research project provide us with a goldmine of information which helps us understand cultural differences.


 

Head ShotJeff Suderman is a professor and consultant who works inCollectivism 2 the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and their Future-Readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman

Reference

House, R., Hanges, P.J., Javidan, M, Dorfman, P.W., Gupta, V. (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Hofstede, G. (1980). Cultures consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage

Leading Globally: Understanding Cultural Assertiveness

A lasting impression from my trip to Indonesia is the pleasant smiles and accommodating nature of the locals I interacted with. In contrast, within hours of my arrival in Lithuania, a store check-out clerk brashly told me “No, no, no!” as I unknowingly attempted to purchase something I was not supposed to.

Both of these examples represent the cultural value of assertiveness. Cultural assertiveness reflects beliefs as to whether people are or should be encouraged to be assertive, aggressive, and tough or non-assertive, non-aggressive, and tender in social relationships. When you experience a cultural assertiveness that is different than your own you often feel discomfort. It is also easy to judge the behavior as inappropriate (either too passive or to aggressive). However, these are just cultural norms that define how things are done. After spending time in Lithuania, I have grown comfortable with their direct nature as I have learned that assertiveness does not mean the same thing as being uncaring or rude.

The chart below illustrates some of the most common differences between cultures or individuals with high and low assertiveness. At the bottom of this blog you will find a reference chart which provides specific results for the 62 countries in the GLOBE study.

GLOBE Assertiveness 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This idea is supported by Howard Guttman in who specializes in workplace conflict. He believes that one of the sources of conflict is because of differences in our communication style. He labels these styles on as non-assertive, assertive or aggressive (see diagram below). When we encounter someone with a different style than our own, we often feel like a conflict is occurring rather than identifying it as a difference in our styles.

Guttman Communication Conflict

Whether in your workplace or in your travels, you have experienced differences in cultural assertiveness. As Canadians (a mid-assertiveness culture) who are living in the United States, our family has had to work to adjust to the high assertiveness of the US Culture. We cannot rely on others to ask us about ourselves and have to initiate more than we are used to. While it can be frustrating to adjust to different norms, it is a requirement of living in an increasingly global society.

As you understand differences in cultural assertiveness you can:

  1. Become self-aware: What is your cultural assertiveness norm? Where do you believe your communication style sits on Guttman’s scale?
  2. Validate your assumptions: Ask others the same question to see if your self-evaluation matches their experience.
  3. Assess your environment: How does the cultural assertiveness of your situation differ from your own. How do you need to adjust or act in this situation in order to be successful?
  4. Adjust: Learn to behave outside of your natural comfort zone.

I would love to hear examples of assertiveness differences you have experienced!

NOTE: The content above has been adapted from the seminal work on global leadership commonly called The GLOBE Leadership Study. It assessed 62 different countries and identified important cultural and leadership norms. The results of this massive research project provide us with a goldmine of information which helps us understand cultural differences.


 

Jeff SuHead Shotderman is a GLOBE Assertivenessprofessor and consultant who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and their FutureReadiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman

Reference

Guttman, H.M (2003).When  Goliath clash.New York: Amacon

House, R., Hanges, P.J., Javidan, M, Dorfman, P.W., Gupta, V. (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Leading Globally: Understanding Cultural Gender Equality

One of the most fundamental ways in which societies differ is the extent to which each prescribes different roles for women and men (Hofstede). Some societies seek to minimize gender role differences while others seek to maximize these differences. This blog focuses on gender equality and is installment 3 of an 8 part series designed to help you improve your global leadership skills.

GENDER EQUALITY

The chart below illustrates some of the most common differences between cultures or individuals with high and low gender equality. At the bottom of this blog you will find a reference chart which provides specific results for the 62 countries in the GLOBE study.

Gender equality chart 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An interesting conclusion of this study is that societies which have higher gender equality were more prosperous, had longer life expectancy and experienced greater overall life satisfaction. They also enjoyed higher standards of living and acquired greater levels of knowledge.

It is easy to look at this information and determine that we need to help low scoring countries improve their gender equality. However, those who have worked in different cultures understand that the approach of indoctrinating others with your beliefs is both rude and ineffective (something which is called ethnocentrism). Instead, I encourage you to use this information to change your thinking. If knowledge is truly power, then this knowledge should enable you to identify individuals or cultural gender equality and respond in ways which are both culturally sensitive and effective.

Earlier this year I blogged about my experience with ethnocentrism while in Indonesia (The Wrong Side of the Road). At the beginning of my visit I referred to driving on the left side of the road as “the wrong side of the road”. By the end of my trip, I learned a lesson about ethnocentrism and changed my language to “a different side of the road”.

Effective leaders must become cultural catalysts. They must be able to identify and appropriately respond to the different norms they find themselves in. Since the roles of men and women differ greatly around the world, the ability to identify gender equality is a critical skill for global leaders. Before you look at the list of countries below, take a guess about your national gender equity bias. Knowing where you stand is the first step in meeting others where they stand.

NOTE: The content above has been adapted from the seminal work on global leadership commonly called The GLOBE Leadership Study. It assessed 62 different countries and identified important cultural and leadership norms. The results of this massive research project provide us with a goldmine of information which helps us understand cultural differences.


 

Jeff SuHead Shotderman is a professor and consultant who works in the field of organizational development. He partners Gender equality chart 2with clients to improve leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and their FutureReadiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman

Reference

House, R., Hanges, P.J., Javidan, M, Dorfman, P.W., Gupta, V. (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Hofstede, G. (1980). Cultures consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

The Leadership Elephant

I’ll start with a simple confession – I’ve read far too much on the subject of leadership.

While I’m at it, here’s confession number two – I’m jaded by the amount of authors who claim to have figured out the leadership solution.

This is well illustrated by The Fable of The Blind Men of the Elephant. In this poem, each man defines an elephant – an animal they have never encountered – based upon the unique body part they can feel. Since each of the men are each touching different parts – the trunk, the leg, the ear, etc. – each provide an accurate description of one component of the elephant. However, a lack of synthesis of their observations results in exaggerated and incomplete viewpoints.

Leadership literature often fails on the same premise. While authors and speakers provide valuable insights about leadership, they often promise the whole elephant instead of understanding and embracing the fact that they are defining a part.  As a result of my frustration, I began looking for a means of looking at the whole leadership elephant and not just the parts. I sought a framework which would help me sort through the clutter.

This pilgrimage was guided by the advice of a former communications professor (thank you Dr. Strom!). He taught me that great communicators use figurative ‘pegs’ to hang their ideas on. When done effectively, these pegs help listeners make sense of the subject matter. When pegs are used effectively, it helps complex subjects seem simple. So I embarked on a journey to understand the pegs on which the various parts of the leadership elephant could belong.

As I reviewed a myriad of leadership literature I discovered three pegs or themes on which almost all leadership concepts can be categorized. They are as follows:

  1. WHO is a leader? This focuses on the identity of a leader.
  2. WHY do leaders lead? This delves into the motivation of a leader.
  3. WHAT do leaders do?  These involves the measures & outcomes of a leader.

So how is this helpful? Together, WHO, WHY and WHAT envelope almost every concept you read in leadership literature. For example, Jon Kotter’s famous book, Leading Change, primarily focuses on what a leader does. Ten Engstrom’s The Making of a Christian Leader, focuses extensively on who a leader is based on biblical standards. Robert Greenleaf’s model of servant leadership focuses heavily on why a leader leads. While leadership  books  or speeches often touch more than one category, you will find that authors typically have a predominant focus on one of these three components.

This concept is simply illustrated by using something that I call the triadic leadership model (Figure 1). The triadic concept is not my own and is supported by social science research. In short, the core strength of triadic thinking is that is ways to present an integrated whole while also demonstrating the interplay and tension between the individual components. When it is used to define leadership, triadic thinking provides three simple pegs on which to hang leadership ideas.

leadership elephant

Figure 1

For example, Donald Trump’s television show, The Apprentice,demonstrates strong themes from the WHY corner of the triad. Trumpian leadership focuses on money as the reason that to lead. In contrast, a biography about Mother Theresa will reveal a very different why – to serve others. As the leadership triad has become seared into my leadership worldview, I find myself using this filter to contextualize leadership concepts. If you are speaking of vision, I know you are dealing with the WHAT of leadership. When you focus on desirable leadership traits I understand you are referring to the WHO of leadership.

At this point I must state a clear caveat. While the model of triadic leadership has helped me understand leadership in a deeper way, I do not purport it to be the answer to leadership studies. Rather, I hope it will be a means to assist you as you try to make sense of the complex leadership elephant.

As you consider this model, I invite your insights about the following questions:

  1. How does this model help you understand leadership better?
  2. What aspects of leadership do not fit into the triadic leadership model?
  3. Which corner of the triad is most prevalent in what you read or hear about leadership?

Note: This blog was previously published on the web site of my friend and colleague, Paul Sohn


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Head ShotJeff Suderman is a consultant and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and their FutureReadiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman

 

Leading Globally: Understanding Future Orientation

What do the terms Just Do It, Don’t Worry be Happy, Manyana and Hakuna Matata have in common? Each provides a glimpse into a person’s orientation toward the future. Nike’s Just Do It phrase connotes immediacy, importance and the need for self-determination. In contrast, Manyana suggests that we should live in the moment as there is always tomorrow.

Individuals and organizations each possess a bias towards one of these two styles. This is called future orientation and it is an ingredient which defines how we operate, individually, nationally and an organizationally. This blog will focus on future orientation and is part 2 of an 8 part series which will help you develop global leadership skills (click here to review the first blog on Performance Orientation).

FUTURE ORIENTATION

Future Orientation is the degree to which we encourage and reward future oriented behaviors such as planning and delaying gratification. 

The chart below illustrates some of the most common differences between cultures or individuals with high and low future orientation. At the bottom of this blog you will find a reference chart which provides specific high/mid/low future orientation results for the 62 countries in the GLOBE study. Here is a list of the things which distinguish high versus low future orientation:

Future Orientation Overview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you work with individuals, here are some practical ways to identify whether your coworker has a higher or lower future orientation:

Future Orientation Individual

 

 

 

 

 

 

An interesting lesson from this research is that almost every country places a very high value of future orientation. However, the difference between high and low performers is execution – the ability to act on your plan and delay gratification. The study also revealed that being a rich country does not necessarily correlate to having a high future orientation. There are many poorer countries with high future orientation that are not wealthy.

Overall, higher levels of future orientation is an ingredient for personal and organizational success. For example, my blog earlier this week (Hello My Name is Agility) demonstrated that the most effective companies have time planning horizons of more than 5 years. Therefore, we typically want to help people increase their future capacity.

The ability to identify future orientation helps you work with individuals or organizations more effectively. Here are a few tips on how to use this information as you work with others.

  • Begin with awareness. Is the person/organization you are working with able to self-identify their time orientation? Awareness is the first step!
  • Be positive! Remember that most people/organizations want to have a high future orientation!
  • Stay focused. Help those with low future orientation establish clear future goals. Consistently remind how about these goals and the need to delay gratification in order to achieve them.
  • Keep it personal. Help those with high future orientation maintain healthy social relationships. People matter!

In our next installment of Leading Globally, we will discuss how gender affects cultural norms.

NOTE: The content above has been adapted from the seminal work on global leadership commonly called The GLOBE Leadership Study. It assessed 62 different countries and identified important cultural and leadership norms. The results of this massive research project provide us with a goldmine of information which helps us understand cultural differences.


Future Orientation Country

Jeff SuHead Shotderman is a professor and consultant who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and their FutureReadiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman

Reference

House, R., Hanges, P.J., Javidan, M, Dorfman, P.W., Gupta, V. (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.