The Business Leader of the Future | Aspirin Business Solutions

The Business Leader of the Future

Main ArticalThe Business Leader of the Future – Do you Have what it Takes to Succeed?

World strategy guru and author, Gary Hamel in his best-selling book ‘The Future of Management’ points out that traditional ways of managing a business are coming to an end. To quote him directly:


New problems demand new principles. Put bluntly, there’s simply no way to build tomorrow’s essential organizational capabilities—resilience, innovation and employee engagement—atop the scaffolding of 20th century management principles.

Another business thought-leader, Alex Osterwalder talks about the urgent need for ‘business model innovation’ in his publications where he states that:

Companies that aren’t able to systematically rejuvenate their business model will struggle to survive and thrive in the future.

When you combine the innovative, clever thinking from these gurus with the avalanche of other new management thinking, which has become much more readily available over the past 10 years thanks to the power of the internet, the big question is this:

“What is a Business Leader of the future supposed to do next?”

Adopting all of it would have any Business Leader twisted into knots attempting to be the world’s best motivator, creative thinker, leader, strategist, team player, coach or lean specialist whilst driving the most innovative business model for their industry.

Whilst it is inspiring to hear stories of Steve Jobs from Apple, or how Google drive their operations, how does the leader of a successful medium sized business decide what latest thinking to take on board? How do they decide what is right for their business? How do they make it stick?

To assist Business Leaders determine what first steps to take for future success we have compiled the 10 key traits of a future business leader (see below).

To start the process first analyse WHERE you want to be as a business in 5 years time, e.g. 20% growth in profits per year for 5 years. This will provide a peg in the ground for the amount of evolution required for you as a Business Leader. Use this to help in the gap analysis exercise (below):

Top 10 traits of a Future Business Leader

Rate on a scale of -5 to +5 with -5 being ‘Very Low’ and +5 being ‘Very High’ how much you agree with each statement below? Complete it for where you are NOW,  and then complete it for WHERE you want to be:                                                                         

Question                                               Now      Where      Gap*

(*Gap = Where – Now)

1. I act as a ‘coach’ rather than a ‘manager’?
2. The business can function effectively without me?
3. I have a simple, clear approach to developing strategies?
4. I have a high level of ‘self awareness’ or Emotional Intelligence?
5. I have strong financial management skills?
6. I am a good communicator?
7. I am a good listener?
8. I have a strong network of peers to use as a strategic sounding board?
9. I am a good implementer, things get done when I’m involved?
10. I have strong life-balance?

Once you have completed the gap analysis identify your top three largest gaps. These should now become your three strategies to work on to become a more effective ‘Business Leader of the Future’. Implementing these strategies effectively with robust actions is your next challenge.

Whilst it is inspiring to read these latest management books and new management thinking it is critical to remember that it is a journey and there are clear steps that need to be achieved first before you can reach your end goals. Attempting to race straight to the perceived finish line will have a negative impact on both yourself, your team and your business.

Article by James Mason – Managing Director at Mindshop, (Aspirin’s Business Advisory partners) and adapted by Susannah Brade-Waring, MD, Aspirin Business.

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