Address Tomorrow’s Problems Today

Recently a friend (let’s call him George) shared a story with me that says a lot about who he is as a person, but is also a great reminder about the role of leaders.

George shared that as he went about his day-to-day work he made an effort to actively scan his environment — looking for potential issues and solving them before they turned into something more, flattening molehills before they became mountains,  in essence identifying and addressing tomorrow’s problems today  — and before they could rise up tomorrow and bite him on the arse.  He was struck by the fact that not everyone works this way.  George remarked that a colleague patted himself on the back for reacting and responding to complaints in a timely manner, whereas George’s approach was to obviate the need for a complaint in the first place.

It got me thinking about good managers and leaders and the role that we play in our organizations and with our staff.   Are we doing enough to anticipate the trends that will change our workplaces? Our products and services?  Are we scanning the horizon or letting ourselves get buried by the crisis du jour. And importantly, are we making enough of an effort to monitor and anticipate the needs of our staff — for growth, professional development, and advancement?   Because we can act decisively when issues come up, but how much better to anticipate these needs and address them before they even need to get raised.

I need to remember this when I’m tempted to keep my head down and focus on the work that’s right in front of me in a given moment.  Because there’s a lot happening out there on the horizon that could benefit from attention today.

How about you?  Any tips for staying focused on tomorrow’s needs today?


2 responses to “Address Tomorrow’s Problems Today

  1. It seems to me that the difference is often talent–your friend has a talent for troubleshooting and future thinking that likely eclipses that of his peers. The challenge we face as managers and leaders is to wield that talent in ways that ensure others possess it because we use it on their behalf.

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