I have been thinking lately about recent Aberdeen Group research that year over year indicates consistent CEO concerns with significant business issues such as innovation, employee productivity, execution, etc. Consistent issues, no surprises, yet year over year the concerns remain the same. Why? Certainly, leaders have the authority to make things happen. Making significant changes doesn’t always cost a fortune- so budget shouldn’t be an issue. These issues are fundamental to company success, share price, and competitive advantage - so prioritization also should not be an issue. What is going on here?
Maybe the answer is simple. Leaders like any other workforce demographic are composed of high, mid, and low performers. Maybe for the low and mid-performing leaders the status quo is acceptable and moving the needle means nothing more than taking a survey to understand their companies’ current strengths and inefficiencies. In my experience, high-performing leaders are restless. High-performing leaders are not content with the status quo even if the status quo is great.
Are you a restless leader? Are you a leader that constantly wrestles with the status quo and is driven to do things better now not later? A restless leader constantly scans the horizon for innovation and opportunities to ensure their company has a strategic competitive advantage.
Traits of the Restless Leader:
1. Informed: The Restless Leader stays informed. She draws from a range of sources of information spanning industry, continent, and subject. The Restless Leader also draws from sources that inspire; such as art and literature as the Restless Leader knows that there are lessons and inspiration to be gained from metaphors that surround them.
2. Curious: The Restless Leader asks questions and seeks a better understanding from all levels within the company. The Restless Leader seeks to better understand and expand their knowledge of topics in which they are already knowledgeable as well as those that are new to them without ego or prejudice.
3. Takes Informed Risks: The Restless Leader seeks out new ideas, technologies, methods for making the workplace more productive, collaborative, and progressive. They gather data from multiple points inside and outside their company. The Restless Leader is a strategic early adopter.
4. Proactive: The Restless Leader does not wait to take action. Theories are to be tested, measured, and if proven worthy, deployed. Data is acted upon when gathered.
5. Steady: The Restless Leader has a vision, strategy, and goals aligned to that vision. The speed to change, adopt, innovate, and improve is consistently aligned to the foundation of this vision, strategy, and goals.
Whether you are a Restless Leader or aspire to being one, thinking and acting in the manner of a Restless Leader will focus your actions and help drive personal and company performance.