Two Statistics That Should Drive Your Future Thinking

There are two statistics that probably won’t wow you in terms of fact but don’t seem to get the airplay they deserve when it comes to building business value for the future. And they won’t serve as “wow factors” in the annals of research, but based on the behaviors of many companies they seem to go overlooked.

Fact #1. The mortality rate among humans is running at right about 100%.

Fact #2. The perfection rate among humans is running at right about 0%!

Here’s what it should mean for any business owner (or team of owners):

No one really believes they’re going to live forever. But oftentimes the structure, policies, practices and culture of a company are designed around the current leader (or leaders), which probably makes sense if we’re focused on this quarter or the next one, this year or the next one.

But if we are to think long-term, we could – and should – be revisiting the way we’re structured and the culture we’ve created according to who the future leaders of the company will be. This creates a competitive advantage that will help us win for a long time, and builds value in the event we ever wanted to package and sell some or all of our company.

All too often, the Founder or Owner is a bigger-than-life leader whose past presence and personality – and present role – drives how a company runs, how it thinks, how it approaches opportunities and crises and who it promotes. Even if that Founder or Owner isn’t in the home office every day, it’s “thought of him (or her)” that helps many executives, managers and employees feel confident in the future of the business.

Consider your organizational chart of the future – in the mid-term and long-term. Only when the future leaders are challenged to create culture, policies, procedures and practices that they can best lead and manage will the company be primed for future success. It is a rare and wonderful treat when the future leaders can capture and maintain the ethos and values of a company while adjusting to fulfill future competitive opportunities and meet competitive needs.

Oh, and yes. If the perfection ratio among humans is running at 0%, then by definition every company is attempting to execute strategic plans and succession plans via imperfect people serving on imperfect teams attempting to give their best shot at closing the gap between our best vs. the best that could be done. If our company is not investing in our future talent development – not just in the areas of the specialties of the company but the development of our future leaders – then we’re offering the market a competitive advantage against us and risking an exposure that we don’t need to risk.

Wise companies know that their future organizational chart will look different than today’s, and are developing the people that will fit into it according to the needs that will be required. Anything less will bring a cost in ways that will last long beyond the urgencies of this next quarter or fiscal year.

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