Strategic initiatives – by definition – intend to achieve organizational transformation. The transformed organization will be owned by the next generation of leaders. It makes sense include their energy and ideas in a strategic initiative.
I recently was involved with an exceptional strategic initiative team. One of the things that stood out was how the initiative allowed for – and encouraged the contributions of next-generation leaders. How are you doing at mentoring, coaching and developing them?
Here are five suggestions for including and leveraging the talents of new, smart voices.
- Engage – Look for ways to make the team experience one of action. Strategic thinkers have a playful mindset. If you don’t know what the word ‘gamification’ means, look it up!
- Listen – This is a part of engagement, but is so important that it needs to be called out separately. As a generational cohort, we have a group that has been told their whole life that they are exceptional individuals. Ask for their advice.
- Tweet! – Twitter and other social media can give you a better perspective on the strategic environment. I can open you up to some of the latest and best thinking.Also, check out and participate in Tweetchats, a fast-moving discussion on a special interest topic.
I confess that I was a little slow to establish a presence on Twitter. Now I am active (follow me @GregGithens, and search for #strategicthinking, #strategyexecution, and #strategicinitiatives as some examples). I am learning new and valuable ways of seeing the world of strategy and of work. The 140 character format has caused me be to a more concise communicator.
- Encourage Disruptive Thinking – Change is prevalent in every organization, industry, and situation. Next generation leaders like to talk about disruptive technologies. Let them!
- Learn – I stand in front or audiences all the time and see the contrasts of the next generation of leaders with Baby Boomers. Next generation leaders must become competent at 1) thinking strategically, 2) understanding the parts of the business and how they fit together, and 3) driving change.
I teach two seminars that provide for a nice mix of thinking for Boomers and for next generation leader (shameless plug). The first is Leading Strategic Initiatives (Program Management) which is full of practical tools and insights for the topic. My newest seminar is How to Think Strategically and Apply Business Acumen, which I designed to provide tools for the top-three needs of next generation leaders.
Do you agree that organization need to include new, smart voices in their strategy development and in their strategic initiatives? What other ideas do you have for including and leveraging their talents?