Are you aware of the equation of organizational survival?

“For an organisation to survive, its rate of learning must be at least equal to the rate of change in its external environment”.

So how do you lead a team that doesn’t just survive, but thrives?

The Eternal Juggle

As a leader, how do you balance time leading your team, delivering business as usual, whilst keeping an eye on tomorrow’s challenges?

Even tougher than this: how do you lead a team that does all of the above and scans the far horizon for how the external environment is changing?

Reg Revans, pioneer of management thinking, took this conundrum one step further – for us to truly survive, he argued, we need to keep learning, look at our failures and our victories as a team.

It’s only by evaluating HOW we go about leading our teams, and looking at where we focus our time, that we can steer our organisations to thrive and survive.

The Three Horizons

Picture the scenario: you lead a team in a fast growing, professional services business.

The business started life in the UK and with such successful growth, more business is being done overseas. You’ve opened offices in three overseas locations – so the demand to service this from the UK is high. Increasing requests for central support on an already stretched team is putting pressure on your leaders and their teams.

As a leader there’s three horizons to keep your eye on:

  1. Running business as usual
  2. Innovating for tomorrow’s world
  3. Looking for that future foresight

For all of us as humans, the immediate and the urgent have a tendency to drown out the importance of focusing on that 3rd horizon.

The sculpture “Horizon” offers a spectacular inverted view of the sky and the sea – and their horizon.

The first thing we do in the morning is jump on email and spend time answering queries & working on those immediate issues. We need to consciously find strategies which help us raise above the day-to-day, and focus on the future.

Team Effectiveness Strategies

Back to our now global professional services business, we helped them develop strategies to have effective time and space to look at over the horizon – to focus on innovating for stakeholders groups and looking to the future.

Through Team Effectiveness workshops, we helped the team to frame the challenge and co-create a solution.

For some teams, it was where they spend their time & focus, for other teams it was supporting individuals to step up, giving more strategy thinking time to the senior leader.

For all the teams, it was aligning on a vision together with the discipline of carving out around 20% of their time to deliver a set of Must Wins alongside their day-to-day business.


If you’re interested in how your team and organization could not just to survive, but thrive by carving out time to shape its future business then please contact us.