Introduction: “Look Around the Corner” — Innovate for Success!

This is the time of year when many of our colleagues write newsletters with presentations about planning for the year to come. Their recommendations usually involve your reviewing the past year and setting goals for the year ahead. It’s not that this isn’t a great exercise and strategy in most years, but things are a lot more complicated now. There’s still uncertainty in the economy and for many of our businesses. The job of running a company has had to change a great deal, as described well in a book I read recently, Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty: The New Rules for Getting the Right Things Done in Difficult Times, by Ram Charan.

Last week, I attended a Bloomberg cocktail party and panel discussion at the invitation of SAP, a new partner of Vistage. The panel discussion, about business growth, featured three top CEOs and a Bloomberg journalist as the moderator. Robert Bloom, author of THE NEW EXPERTS: Win Today’s Newly Empowered Customers at Their 4 Decisive Moments, participated as a co-moderator, providing comments and insights.

While this newsletter will report information from that meeting, as well as related experiences with my Vistage members, I want to first share what I think is the most profound concept from the gathering.

Just like a traditional year-end review and planning session, many strategic planning efforts focus on the “horizon” ahead. According to Robert Bloom, that’s no longer enough. That horizon has been there for decades; and if we continue to look at it, we will not see anything different. To grow our businesses into the future, we must “look around the corner” to see things that are not directly in our line of sight.

This is a very interesting concept, and it takes planning to an entirely new level — where innovation needs to be the norm, not the exception, in order to achieve growth and business success in the future.

Can you “look around the corner” for your business and your industry? How do you become innovative if that is not your strength, or something that you’ve not done since you first came up with the idea for your business? As by presenting what some other business leaders are doing — as well as Sam Alibrando’s delightfully insightful article Munchkins, Monkeys, Toto, & Glinda: Why Leaders Can’t Lead Alone — we hope in this newsletter to offer you some astute observations and practical suggestions for meeting the challenge of growing your business.

To your success!

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Gail Schaper-Gordon, Ph.D.
Chair, Vistage CEO Group
Founder /Senior Consultant, Win-Win



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