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Let’s Talk About the Future. (#55)

The Confident Leader

I recently took my oldest child to college. Everyone was excited to return to campus after eighteen months (or be there for the first time). The atmosphere was electric, filled with a hopefulness all leaders can emulate.

Where there is no vision, the people perish.
— Proverbs 29:18

This Week’s Edition

Leadership Communication: The current outlook of most leaders is not as bright as from the ivory tower of academia. As a result, leaders are messaging future goals with a little baggage from the past.

Clarify Your Thinking

The university’s convocation ceremony both concluded our family drop off and welcomed the freshman students into the larger academic community. From the podium many spoke about the students’ endless possibilities, limitless talent, and scholastic opportunity.


With their speeches, the leadership of the school painted a compelling picture of the future inviting the entire freshman community into a mission of lifelong service to others thereby influencing the world for decades.  It was inspiring.


This got me thinking about the leaders that I work with who are laser focused on clawing back what was lost during the pandemic – revenue, clients, employees, morale, and hope.


·      “Let’s just get back to pre-pandemic revenue.”

·      “Can we revive the culture we had back then.”

·      “We need to backfill the positions we used to have.”


These are worthy endeavors, but the problem is this: employees hear these comments as a return to the past. This leaves them questioning the organization’s future vision. Their exit interview insights are compelling:


·      I don’t know where the company is headed.

·      It seems like you’ve lost your mission.

·      What exactly are the strategies for the future?

·      Who is the organization amidst all this change?


Hearing this, leaders are doubting how to proceed. “I’m doing the best I can. I think I am communicating effectively. I’m listening. The exit interview information seems to indicate a vote of no confidence. What do I do?”


post pandemic vision

Thoughts Lead to Actions

 Employees don’t want to hear future messaging tainted by the past. The past was hard. It was difficult. It was painful. They’re telling leaders they want to hear about the future. They want to be inspired about the professional game they are playing and the team they are on. They want the possibility of a future win and to be on a winning team.


Comments like, “Let’s get back to _______!” may leave them questioning whether this is the organization for them. Expect 30% to head for the exit.


Of course, leaders must look to the past to derive the goals for the future.  Historical benchmarking gives a touchstone for the capabilities of the organization going forward. The challenge is how to translate that to a future-oriented message that engages the team and is a catalyst for forward progress.


Three considerations:

1.   Dream again. What’s truly possible for the future (irrespective of past successes). The new world brings new possibilities.

2.   Recount previous victories to prove winning by this team is possible.

3.   Clearly articulate the mission emphasizing that all may participate in defining the future destination and shape their role accordingly.  


Boost Your Performance

Recognize how you might be messaging your future. Leave behind any references to the past that might be a drag on the momentum you want to create. Your team will be inspired to engage in the journey going forward.

What’s Your Opinion?

Are you questioning your next strategic move for your business? Consider joining one of our leadership cohorts starting in September. Reach out to learn more about how to fulfill your greatest professional vision:

Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

If this was helpful, feel free to share it with another leader who needs to defeat doubt and complete their confidence.

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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.

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