Jan 312014

One unforgettable characteristic of the great exploits of Alexander the Great many centuries ago was that he conquered the world with great speed and ferocity. Alexander marched on with his mapmakers, and then one day this young conqueror looked out at the horizon and cried. He lamented that there was no longer any world to conquer.

History would have told a different story had Alexander the Great not relied on his mapmakers but used GPS — if only this technology was available then.

Today, in business, roadmaps, compasses and GPS devices are necessary.

There was a time when all you needed to do business was a roadmap. Roadmaps come by different names.  Sometimes they were called “Business Strategic Plans.”  These came with different versions.There were annual, two-year, five-year and even 10-year business strategic plans as leaders within the organization prepared the roadmap for the future.

But a roadmap is useful only when the terrain is familiar and the geography does not change.The big question now is this: How do you use a roadmap today when the terrain continues to transform and the geography is always changing?

Roadmaps are important, but apart from them you need another device.

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You need a compass. A compass will perennially point you towards the direction you need to go as you navigate an uncertain world that keeps on transforming.  While a compass brings you to uncharted territories — which is more symbolic of what we are going through today — a GPS device guides you through paved roads with names on it.

Leadership is basically a compass and not just a roadmap or a GPS device.

It is human nature to seek the familiar and to stay within the comfortable. Technology has shaken both models. Things are no longer familiar and situations are no longer comfortable.

In terms of navigating the world, there are two kinds of people:

1. The Pioneers

These are the brave ones who explore and pave the way for others. They enter uncharted territories, they confront the unfamiliar, and they explore the uncertain.

2. The Settlers

These are the people who move ahead only when they know it is safe. They need leaders who can chart the course, so they can steer the ship towards territories they can exploit and cover.

Today you and I live like pioneers, because technology is constantly paving the way and bringing us to unknown lands where it is not safe and comfortable. The question is “do leaders understand that they have to be the pioneers paving the way?”

This is why the world needs leaders who are able to create enthusiasm, empower their people, and inspire others around them.

As leaders you and I need to update and upgrade our leadership skills.  Learn to handle the millennial who are entering the workplace while working with seasoned incumbents who need a lot of adjustment dealing with the young — the restless and the “always on” generation.

Leaders need to be inspiring as they do pioneering work bringing their teams towards uncharted territories.

Leadership training is necessary, and inspirational leadership is essential. Settling for the familiar and desiring what is comfortable is a recipe for disaster. The world is an exciting place full of untapped possibilities, but it takes the right kind of leaders to bring their people to enjoy them.

Do not rely on your position, seniority or rank as these may give you power and control, but they do not necessarily inspire your people to do their best. Power today has shifted from positions to ideas. You need to inspire your people to creatively come up with ideas to stay competitive and to be ahead of the game. Do something good with your power. Don’t just be good at being powerful. Be inspiring!

(Spend two inspiring days learning leadership and life skills with Francis Kong as he presents Level Up Leadership on Feb. 18-19 at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. For further inquiries contact Inspire at 09158055910 or call 632-6310912 for details.)

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