Blog Writing

The Forest AND the Trees

Effective leaders are able to both see what to do in the next 3 years and the next 3 minutes.


This focus on both the here-and-now and the future of one’s organization is a critical skill leaders need in order to take their organization to the next level. Today’s world is changing too rapidly to simply set a three year course and shift into cruise control. When a leader is too future focused, they can come across as a too removed from the organization’s current needs and those they lead won’t have clear direction on what they need to implement today.


The result: the organization will start to bog down in the details of today and inconsistent decision making.


On the flip side, when a leader is too focused on today’s challenges without an eye for the next several years, their organization will react to the “fires” that are burning today and will stop being proactive. Each day brings a different challenge, a new fire, that can take all of its focus and energy.


Soon this organization will experience mission drift, becoming a reactionary organization that responds only to the needs of today, while losing sight of the overall mission of that organization.


An effective leader is one who has a clear picture of the future while knowing what needs to be done today. This kind of leader will be proactive, appropriately responding to the needs of today while keeping within the boundaries of the organization’s overall mission.


This leader will keep focused on both the forest and the trees, as my friend Dave Jones said recently, boldly leading their organization forward with clarity while adeptly adjusting to the challenges of today.
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Mark A. Pitman
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