A New Look at the Outlook

Misty mountains with an unsure path forward.

A New Look at the Outlook

By Margaret Wilson, Tandem Partners & Ann Quinn, Quinn Strategy Group

We’re well into the new year now and the economy continues to give out mixed signals. Growth has slowed, but half a million jobs were added last month. Inflation is high but consumers are still spending. There’s a lot of confusion and uncertainty about what the economy is doing and where it’s heading. Of course, this will sort itself out eventually, but how should leaders set a course in the meantime? We recommend you focus your attention in three areas to expand your visibility and see everything around you.

Look Out. For many leaders, the environment is dynamic, uncertain, and complex. If you’re not looking outside your organization and scanning the environment for trends that need to be considered, you’re forming only a partial picture. You don’t operate in a vacuum, so spend time figuring out how external, environmental trends and factors impact you. If the environment is very changeable, planning in shorter bursts allows you to move forward with more agility.

Look In. Sometimes the best way to move forward involves looking inward. What talents and leadership abilities are you bringing forward this year? How are you developing yourself and your team? Did your organization reach its goals last year? Which ones? Where do you have momentum and where do you need to make adjustments? These are just a few of the questions that will illuminate a path forward for you and your team.

Look Up. In planning your next actions, move toward what you do want, not away from what you don’t want. When leaders orient to aspirations, it motivates the team to grow toward them. A clear goal provides a rallying cry that drives performance. And with each accomplishment, the team is inspired to keep going. In contrast, when you orient to what you don’t want, your motivation lasts only until the problem goes away.

There’s a fog of confusing information out there, but it doesn’t have to cloud your view. Be bullish on your own organization by scanning the horizon, self-assessing your progress and setting your sights high.