How We Plan for the Future

A few weeks back, I wrote that I was excited to spend the next few weeks with Austin’s senior management team, and after that, some time with this year's Leadership Development Program (LDP) team. I thought I would take this opportunity to report on those meetings.

An important note: The selection of the team for this year’s LDP was difficult as we are limited in the number of participants by both logistics and practicality. I am encouraged by the quality and focus of so many of our teammates.

The first week, our senior management team spent time working through developmental issues. It may seem counter intuitive for a 135 year old company to be working on developmental issues. On the contrary, the reason we have been around this long is that we are constantly evolving. If we do not continue to evolve, we become fossilized.

In our meeting, we set a goal to triple our revenues in four years. This is less of a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal – read Jim Collins' “Good to Great”) than it may seem, given the investments we have made in recent years. Nonetheless, such growth demands a different perspective on management staffing, overhead costs, succession planning and so many other aspects of our organization.

One thing is for sure – if you don’t plan for it, it isn’t going to happen on its own.

So, speaking of planning, a few words about our LDP program. If we are going to grow to the extent that we are planning, the opportunities are significant for those employees with the right talents, attitude and ethics. In the LDP meetings, we identify some tasks we need to accomplish as a company and weave them into the agenda. It’s pretty powerful when you focus the intellect, attitude and desire of a team of people on a topic. It gets done. This past week was the perfect example. My appreciation to everyone involved. We have two more LDP group sessions to go through. I’m looking forward to the experience.

Whether it is planning for a significant growth phase, or bringing a team together for the first time, I am more inspired by team efforts than individual ones. Individual accomplishments are important and they speak much about the character and dedication of the individual. But teams are micro-societies in their own rights and the accomplishments of teams are reflective about what society can accomplish given the right set of conditions.

While we all have roles to play in a project, a community, a society – it is in the interaction of the various roles where we fail or succeed. Learning and practicing successful interaction with a vision, goals and tasks, focusing the interaction is one of the best experiences we can have. As individuals, we are always only one. With teams, through practice and leadership, we can get to where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts

And, I think, you cannot get ahead without that!

See: How Management is Like a Team Sport

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now.”

Alan Lakein

“Beginning of a great day begins a night before.” 

Sukant Ratnakar