5 Qualities of Forward Thinking Organisations

There are a few important things that forward thinking organisations do that differ from their industry peers. Things that set them apart. Things that if done now can make a significant difference in 3 to 10 years.

And, those few important things are the 20% that matter. So, what might these important things be? Contemporary studies into high performance organisation gives us many clues. Our own work experience with organisations concur on the following 5 qualities of forward thinking organisations:

1. They don’t go where everyone goes.

Why follow the crowd if you want to stand out or be an industry leader? Forward thinking organisations plan and strategise. They scan the current macro and micro situation, and predict, with relevant information what the trends should be in 5 to 10 years. Information becomes power, and used to illuminate the future results in a compelling company vision.

2. Outstanding leadership

A company could not possibly manifest point 1 without leadership. Everything rises and falls with leadership. You may wish to receive an alternate answer with why companies go from “good to great”, but as Jim Collins will attest to, “It all comes back down to the same, boring answer: Leadership”

Leadership is important, and for a recent while has been hugely distinguished from management. Nonetheless, great management skills equally plays its role in successful companies.

3. They understand their customers

Every successful company realises that they cannot be successful if they do not take care of their customers. It’s cliche, but if you don’t, someone else will.

The very purpose of being in business is “to keep a customer” (Peter Drucker). Most think its to make a profit; that’s the objective and by-product of fulfilling your company purpose (or mission).

What can you do to wow your customers; provide more value and maintain meaningful, win-win relationships? More than quality products, which is not taken as a given, what does your company do that makes makes it stand out?

4. Talent is managed

Forward thinking companies attract, manage, develop and transition talent. Talent Management is relevant if you want to solve people problems and ultimately take your organisation from point A to point B.

Bill Gates once said: Take our 20 best people away, and I will tell you that Microsoft would become an unimportant company.”

5. Train and develop their people

For most companies, training is a nice to have. It’s a B priority. If there are funds and budgets that have not been used, let’s plan something. It’s done when there is an emergency: budgets not used, new technology being introduced, poor results measured or the clarion call of some senior manager about what staff need to be trained at.

This is all a reflection of poor management, and lip service to “people are our greatest asset”. Training is more than skill and competence, but mindset, attitude, ideas and problem solving. Who wants to readily lose their best staff? And, if it happens – well, maybe they should not have been there in the first place – and happy days to them wherever they go.

Forward thinking companies look to the future and think about what may and could be. But, they’re focused on the present – the activities right now that connect and bridge the future.

Anil Salick

Anil Salick

Strategist, Facilitator, Coach, Writer. Shares about inspiration, leadership, critical thinking, fun, sports and current events.