The headlines in today’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reveal a strong economic picture. Here are just a few:
- Tech Stocks Lead the Way After Dow 26,000
- US Jobless Claims Fell Last Week to Near 45-Year Low
- German Economic Growth Hits 6-Year High
- China’s Economic Growth at 6.9%: In 2017, the State Struck Back
Nonetheless, many are bullish about the U.S. (and broader global) economy.
I Have News For You
In the midst of these positive signs, there is one thing that will keep you and your organization from winning. Moreover, left unchecked, this one thing could actually cause your organization to fail despite the strong economic environment.
The good news is that you can do many things to influence this one thing.
What’s the one thing?
Your organization’s ability to identify, develop, support, and retain great leaders is the one thing that will hold you back, even in a strong economy.
Of particular concern are first-level leaders, who interact daily with your frontline employees and customers. For both of these groups, first-level leaders are the face of your organization. Sure, the mission statement on the wall might be attractive or the product name catchy, but if the first-level leader isn’t doing well, customers and employees will both walk out the door.
This has always been true, but in a world of retiring baby boomers, falling unemployment numbers, and expanding opportunities, effectively developing new leaders isn’t just important; it’s mission critical.
I invite you to take a hard look at your organization. Be honest about the number of ‘ready now’ leaders available. Consider how retirements, unexpected departures, or other changes can and will affect your organization’s ability to win. Ask yourself questions about how well your first level-leaders are meeting the needs of their team members and customers.
For many, perhaps near all of us, taking the time to ponder the content of the last paragraph might be concerning – perhaps very concerning. The good is that there a place where you can start right now (today) and that’s with the mindset of your new leaders.
Everything a leader does stems from how she/he sees the world, so help your leaders understand that their role is to: inspire trust on their teams, work with their people to craft a clear team purpose, establish processes to help the team win, and coach every person to her/his greatest potential.
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.