A Generation of Change

Sustainable Direction – a generation of change

One of the primary functions of a director in any business is to set direction, create vision and lay out the path or strategy of approach. The greater challenge for the director of a sustainable business is to have a much longer term view – typically 25 years or a generation. If this is not born of pipe-dreams then the art, skill and difference that such a director has must be based on experience, deep patterns and observations of life and behaviours in a particular industry and an assessment or projection on not only what is likely to happen but in what direction the Board wish to steer the business.

As a director you will not have reached such a role without personal leadership capacity and capability and quite possibly in a larger organisation many years experience of creating value through projects, managing teams, functions and business units. You are likely to be a seasoned shaper of the future.

But perhaps this exercise will challenge you to raise your game to that needed by directors of a sustainable business? It should be completed individually and as a Board. Simply answer the questions below.

Section One - "you don't have to do this"

  1. What is the reason why your business will continue to exist in 25 years time?
  2. What purpose and function will your business fulfil for the people that it serves?
  3. Why is it better that you do this as a business rather than in some other way?
  4. What would happen if your business went out of business between now and then?
  5. What are the biggest risks to your business' sustainability in the next 25 years?
  6. What difference would going out of business make to your clients? Would they care?
  7. What impact would the demise of your business have on all stakeholders if it happened?
  8. Can you start and maintain a 25 year intention, vision and commitment?
  9. What would Plan A, Plan B and Plan C look like?

Section Two - "you want to do this"

  1. What is the timeless raison d’etre of your business?
  2. What is your intention regarding deliverable outcomes and your personal exit achievements?
  3. What is your vision of what exists in a sustainable way in 25 years time?
  4. What will need to be the guiding ethos and motivation of all business leaders along the way?
  5. What are some primary business strategies that will be pursued?
  6. What strategies will sustain cash-flow, investment and funding?
  7. What do you assess as unwavering timeless principles and practices that must be understood?
  8. What will ensure the 100% integrity of your promise to fulfil your client needs?
  9. Where sustainable integrity is the aim and not scale, what would Plan A, Plan B and Plan C now look like?

If you get to this part of the exercise and wonder what value the questions have and why it is worthwhile then I offer you these thoughts;

Firstly – many German businesses take the long term view and think nothing of a 25 year projection

Secondly – this exercise should challenge you to be authentic to your own purpose and to achieve either some level of dissonance or with time some level of alignment and clarity of motivation and purpose

Thirdly – a 25 year vision keeps it simple. It needn’t be much more complex at the core than what you have come up with. One page of A4 should capture the summary in words, a picture or diagram of some sort.

Fourthly – having vision and intention does not make it happen by magic. You have to choose to act in the direction of the vision, individually and collectively

Lastly – so long as the vision you have come up with is ‘in the present’ – which means that you are not in some striving mode, have not done this as a theoretical exercise with the overuse of imagination and you hold the details and the path ‘lightly’ there is no reason why it cannot be the way ‘to hold’ and ‘to see’ direction.

Enrichyou’s Board Formation Programme and Director of a Sustainable Business Programme both have specific components to do with Direction, vision and strategy.  Please contact us for more information.

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