Generation Flux,’ I came across this term recently; it’s a reference to the dizzying velocity at which our economy changes and how it affects modern business. I wrote a blog on LinkedIn called ‘3 People Walk into a Bar – a Follower and 2 Leaders’ in which I made reference to some worrying statistics on leadership. I want to put particular focus on the result that found, an organisation with an ineffective leader is leading with only 8% of their team highly engaged. Put this into the context of Generation Flux, a fast moving and ever advancing economy and you’ll have a business that is struggling to keep afloat just a couple years after they begin.

Great Scott!

Most organisations, if you ask, will acknowledge that having a cadre of effective, inspiring and engaging leaders would enable them to perform better today, be more flexible and adaptable in the future and create a hard to replicate source of competitive advantage. Few, however, are interested or willing to invest in their leaders, why? If you look at what used to be some of the most powerful brands in the world from Kodak, Yahoo and Nokia they failed to adapt, and while their leaders drudged behind, Generation Flux began and the rest is history. If only they had a DeLorean in order to go ahead and see the future, instead we are left to predict it.

Part of the growing Generation Flux is recognising that the world is shrinking. Communicating with clarity and influencing others becomes even more challenging, as leaders must ensure they are familiar with a whole new corporate language. But one of the countless challenges faced by those who step up to the leadership plate.

Blame, however, is a messy game. There is always something getting in the way of success, perhaps it’s today’s tough market or a bully named Biff? In spite of all this, there is a clear obstacle- companies that fail to invest continuously in the leaders of tomorrow will find themselves falling behind the competitors.

Whose your Biff?

In 2015, Deloitte released the Global Human Capital Trends after surveying and interviewing more 3,300+ companies in 106 countries. Out of the many thought-provoking stats, one stood out.

Companies were found to either “get it” or not on leadership development. Meaning some organisations viewed leadership training as a luxury, investing in training and developing their leaders is only to be conducted during the good times rather than the bad. They deemed that they could only afford it in the strong years, and as a result, training programs were sporadic and funded one year but not the next. In fact, research indicated that high-performing companies spend 1.5 to 2 times more on leadership than other companies, reaping results that are triple or quadruple the level of their competitors.

Knowing this, it wasn’t surprising to see they had also uncovered a 2% increase in leadership capability gap between the years of 2014-2015.

This reminds me of that saying, “right relationship, wrong time”. When is the right time to say train your work force? If you’re sitting around wondering rather than doing, you’ve stalled your movements. The pace of business is too swift for this approach. Rather than wait, accelerate your path to best-practise solutions.

Our leaders are starving; they know that the most efficient leaders balance performance with learning. It’s clear that if you add value now; it will translate to better results in the future. Defence in the bad times is not a viable strategy if you want to thrive, or even just survive, in a globally connected, always on market place.

Consider a world number 1 athlete, why could they possibly need a coach? Equally, why would a booming organisation possibly need to seek outside training? The answer is the same for both cases; we cannot see ourselves as others see us. A swimmer can’t observe their strokes, to improve and critique their performance. The athlete knows that the best practise is to swim up and down those lanes regularly, with their coach in toe, to improve their performance.

Unfortunately, several companies can only see through the lens of their own budget constraints and business plan. They hide behind their fortress walls, refusing to seek acumen from any outside sources. Prioritising learning to improve performance should be common place; it shouldn’t be a luxury. Welcome to Generation Flux, do you have the right skills and knowledge to compete?

If you want your organisation, your leaders to ride into the future with the confidence to take on anything, as a member of Generation Flux, then stop finding excuses. Create a vision and invest in it.

“Roads? Where we are going, we don’t need roads.” – Doc Brown

Originally posted on LinkedIn