Greetings dear friends & welcome to my world again this week. My topic this week has been inspired by our local Mako rugby team, & why I missed you all last weekend. Anticipation is a great word. It is a cousin to expectation, excitement, faith & suspense. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines anticipation as “a feeling of excitement about something going to happen: the act of preparing for something.” Accordingly, I have a lot of expectation, excitement, faith & suspense in our team this year.
I suspect those words also define our attitude about leadership.
Sadly, the more years many people serve in such leadership roles, the less anticipation, faith & excitement they often demonstrate. Many people begin to rely on experience, communication skills, & past preparations to win the day.
Often when in preparation one can approach it as a deadline to meet or a task to be completed. And what has been missing is the element or faith or anticipation. I think a great question every leader should have as part of their preparation: “What do I want, hope & believe will be achieved through this message?” The question reveals anticipation & faith.
Strategic anticipation is an underrated & overlooked skill of successful leaders. The ability to recognize & respond to future trends & uncertainties, allowing them to assess possible results & seize opportunities is crucial.
We often see strategic anticipation play out in sports. Skilled athletes, just like my Mako team, anticipate the actions & outcomes of their opponents. It is a distinct advantage. The ability to quickly & accurately predict an opponent is key to winning ~ & intentional. Skilled anticipation in sports is expected. But what about anticipation as it relates to business & leadership?
Companies often prefer to consider the concepts of innovation & change management. While these ideas are excellent, an emphasis placed on skilled anticipation can create a competitive advantage. The best leaders not only lead in the present, but can anticipate what is next.
Good leaders know how to anticipate future setbacks. A good leader must be ready for challenges they did not prepare for or predict. They must develop their leadership muscle by thinking through scenarios & be ready for an issue when it arises.
Leaders can be talented and experienced, yet still, be blindsided by new challenges. When you are running a business, some days can seem unchanged, & then there are a few days which will be strikingly inconsistent. How do you react on such days when by occurrences big or small?
When you have a “reaction” game plan, you become ready for the unexpected & reduce recovery time when the unforeseen occurs so you can get back to the business at hand.
Crises in business never happen when things are easy. Difficulties seem to occur at the worst times. Every leader gets stuck sometimes ~ often at the worst times & in the worst places. However, it is in those difficult places you learn a lot about yourself & your leadership capabilities. In uncertain times, you find yourself. It is often the worst of situations that guide leaders to breakthroughs and ultimate success.
A leader can be headed in one direction & find a new & better path along the way.
Ask any leader where they are going & they will more often than not have a destination in mind. Leaders want to move to the desired state they believe is better for the company.
“Getting a clearer view of what is out there & anticipating the future reduces the feelings of uncertainty & creates confidence,” according to CMO writer David Reilly. “Not anticipating change can potentially be fatal.”
There are few certainties in life, business, & leadership. However, leaders who anticipate the future have a better chance of achieving. Let me ask you, what are you hoping for? Where are you practicing the discipline of anticipation? Did I mention the Mako team, I am off to Auckland tomorrow to see another win, where I have the faith & expectation this too will come to pass?
I hope my comments each week are helpful dear readers; & again, provide just an opinion, from my world. Thank you for taking the time to be with me, I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes.