A major roadblock in many organizations is motivating your team to look forward. It’s not because the team isn’t smart. They’re probably a world-class team.
However, there are issues in motivating them and training your team to look forward. To get them to look forward, we have to look at the root reasons they struggle with this skill.
Why Teams Fail To Look Forward
The reasons teams fail to look forward is plentiful. There are many excuses you’ll hear during your attempts at training forward-thinking in your organization.
- We’ve never done this before.
- No one has any experience with launching new projects.
- We’ve failed before and don’t want to fail again.
- There’s no time to add something more to our plates.
- YOU (Yes, you the leader) haven’t allowed us to dream big.
Some of these reasons are valid. You may be holding your team back from dreaming big and looking forward. Or maybe there is limited time to think forward.
There’s other reasons people may not be able to articulate. Or they might be scared to speak up for voicing their opinion on this topic. These reasons for failing to look forward could be:
- They’ve never been trained to look forward.
- In the past, they’ve been reprimanded for suggesting new opportunities.
- They’re uninspired in their current work.
- An air of negativity hangs over the business.
You really need to begin to define the reasons for the lack of motivation in looking forward. When you begin to see the reasons behind the issue, you can begin to work on the real issues.
Training Your Team To Look Forward
A lot of this will fall on the leader’s shoulders. They’re the ones who can give a call to action and get their team to begin looking forward.
But what can you do? How can you train your team to look forward? Once you’ve identified the issue at hand and why they fail to look forward, implement the following strategies (warning: you will have to adjust and change the strategies depending on your situation).
- Reward forward thinking: Many of the people on your team will have had bad experiences in the past with trying to share their forward-thinking ideas with other leaders. Their suggestions will have been shot down and criticized. You can change this. You can begin to reward forward-thinking team members. When someone comes to you with a suggestion, praise them in private and, more importantly, in public. Let your team see you’re welcome to new ideas.
- Show them how to look forward: There are people who have never set goals and tried to see the future for what it could be. They live day-to-day and paycheck-to-paycheck. They currently lack the eyes to see into the future. Help change this. Get the team into a room and begin sharing your vision for the future. Cast the vision and show them the possibilities out there. Then ask them to join in. Ask them what they see for their future and the organization’s future. Be the guide that leads them.
- Correct the negativity: The truth may be that your organization is struggling. The financials are bad and the future is dim. This can breed the wrong kind of future-thinking. This could bring about negative future-thinking. If you see negativity growing, squash it gently. Guide them to a more positive future where things have improved and what could be.
- Give examples of those who looked forward: Do you have any people in your organization that looked forward and succeeded? Use these people as an example to look forward. You can share their story, where they came from, and how they advanced. By using others as an example, you can encourage your team to look forward.
Getting your team to look forward isn’t always easy. There’s a lot of programming that has to be removed. However, through constant reinforcement and encouragement, you can help your team to look forward!