In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast Todd Adkins and I sit down with Eric Geiger to talk about how leaders can balance having a healthy awareness of past with the right focus on the future. It’s so easy to fall into one extreme or the other and both extremes harm an organization. We answer the following questions.
- What are some signs a leader is too focused on the past?
- What are some signs a leader is too focused on the future?
- What are the downsides of doing either of these? How can they harm an organization?
- How can a leader learn from the past without being stuck in it?
- How can a leader have vision for the future without ignoring present or past reality?
“There’s a difference between looking at the past to learn and looking at the past to find my worth and my identity.”
“If a person finds their worth and identity in the past they’re going to be stuck in the past.”
“Leaders who live in the past are like college freshmen who still wear their high school letter jackets.”
“Am I going back to the past because I don’t have credibility here so I have to borrow from the past??
“What are you doing now?”
“If you’re only focused on the future you’re not leading today, you’re not shepherding today – you don’t even really care about people today.”
“Successful entrepreneurs have an idea, but they execute too.”
“Successful entrepreneurs have a plan for management even if they aren’t doing the managing themselves.”
“An organization that’s stuck in the past lives with the pain of no vision for the future.”
“New leaders cannot emerge in an organization that’s only focused on the past.”
“Complete stagnancy and underdevelopment happens if you’re an organization that’s only focused on the past.”
“There comes a time when something you accomplished 25 years ago doesn’t really matter any more.”
“Its easy to discard the things of our parents, and in doing so to discard a ton of great learning.”
“If relevancy is your main thing you need to tie together the past and the future.”
“Leadership principles haven’t changed ever.”
“Look for transferrable principles.”
“What’s wise is to look at the seasons and successes and victories of the previous generation.”
“Learning from past successes is a way to honor employees who have been there a long time.”
“Have your eyes on the future but from your current context.”
“Allow the past to inform your vision of the future.”
“It’s easy to come into an organization and say ‘Here’s where we’re going!’ without giving any thought to who’s been there or where they’ve been.”
Autopsy of a Deceased Church by Thom Rainer
On The Reading of Old Books – C.S. Lewis on chronological snobbery
Building a Great Organizational Culture – Episode 7