3 Critical Aspects of Planning for Future Growth

The main battle for your organization’s long-term success doesn’t exist where you are…it exists where you are going…

Regardless of how great or bad something may be now, this moment will pass. The successes created today will soon fade and current struggles don’t necessarily indicate future victories.

Take writing for example. Unless you are Rick Warren or a handful of others, the best selling authors have to continue to create new material to stay on the best sellers list. In the business world, the hottest products are only as hot as the next great update or until another “greater” product is introduced. Momentum dies…people lose interest…motivation for what you are promoting fades and something new is needed to keep growing.

On the other hand, if an organization is struggling today that doesn’t always mean they’ll struggle tomorrow. Sometimes one big break turns things from stagnant to growing to thriving. Obviously attention has to be current to survive, but struggling organizations often need to focus even more intently on the future.

At some point, to remain viable and to succeed, organizations have to concentrate on days ahead, because a new day is coming. These principles are truer now than ever before. If an organization wants to be successful over time, then it must be winning the battle for the future.

Here are three aspects or planning for future growth every organization must have:

Strategic thinking – There must be a concerted effort placed on thinking about next steps for the organization. If strategic thinking isn’t a leader’s strength (although I think it’s difficult to lead well without this skill), someone in the organization must be delegated the task of strategically thinking forward. The future is coming…things are changing…and the organization must be able to strategically respond.

Flexibility and adaptability – Today’s leader must remain flexible enough to adapt to change quickly. Most likely the plans you set today will be altered in some way tomorrow. As a leader, you must be open to change personally and learn how to lead others to embrace change within the organization.

Staffing and team-building – An organization will only be as good as the people who make up the organization, so the future is dependent on attracting and retaining the best people. Great leaders are planning ahead for staffing needs, always on the lookout for good people and intentionally seeking to develop people in the organization. Great leaders allow people to explore, possess authority and become leaders. In today’s organizations, the strength of the team is the strength of the organization.

I have been on both sides of an organization…both striving and struggling…and I believe all three of these aspects are true in both scenarios. I see these three as critical to the future growth of any organization, but I’m still learning and organizations are changing every day, so help me here. What am I missing? What would you add to my list?

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9 thoughts on “3 Critical Aspects of Planning for Future Growth

  1. Mr. Edmondson,
    I really appreciate your insight into future growth of an organization. I am currently taking classes with Colorado Christian University and it is great to read your Christian perspective on leadership theory. We are currently reading James Kouzes and Barry Posner’s book, The Truth about Leadership which discusses 10 time proven leadership truths. All of which can easily applied to Jesus and are fundamental to leadership today. One aspect they discuss is “focusing on the future sets leaders apart” (Kouzes & Posner, 2010). This is an individual’s practiced ability to focus on the future of an organization. You say in your blog that it is possible for this aspect to be delegated to someone else in an organization and I agree in a church setting that the pastor, based on the gifts God has given, might be able to delegate strategic future thinking to others but do you think that this can be applied to most organization?

    God Bless!

    • Yes, I actually do. I spent most of my life in the business world and have served on dozens of non-profit boards. I believe delegation is possible in all organizations.
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  2. Another great post Ron. I have always said THE most important decision a leader makes is the HIRING one. If you get that right – everything else falls into the place. Extraordinary people… thinking extraordinary…causes extraordinary action and outcomes.

  3. The one step missing is execution. Making sure the plan is implemented all the way through the organization and harped on until it becomes part of the culture. Many companies have great ideas, few have great execution!

    • Good add James…as always…I was really addressing the planning stage, but the execution stage is absolutely vital… You have to pull the trigger on good plans! Thanks!
      Twitter: Ronedmondson