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We live in a time when leaders must never stop thinking about the future they want their incoming generation to inherit from them. I have come to realize that an integral part of leadership responsibilities, is actually thinking transgenerationally. Great leaders don’t just think about themselves alone. They don’t just think about the moment. They also think about the future they want those coming after them to inherit, the kind of future they want them to have, based on the works and the efforts that they are currently putting in place right now. So, in this article, I want to share with us three reasons why leaders, why you and I as leaders, should think transgenerationally.
Listen to Podcast: 3 Reasons Why Leaders Should Lead Transgenerationally
Now, let’s go to the very first one. The number one reason why you should think transgenerationally as a leader is so that the future generation of leaders that are coming after us can have something to build upon. Let me take that, again. The reason why leaders most think trans generationally is so that the future generation of leaders can have something to build upon. Now, let me explain this. Our work as leaders right now, could at best be described as foundational, because everything we are doing would eventually become a foundation for other leadership endeavors that will take place in the future, long after we are gone.
So, we may want to ask ourselves as leaders, how many generations yet unborn would be able to build on the foundation we are laying right now? No matter how great the work we are doing right now, in our organization, in our nation, they are still at best a foundation; there are people coming after us who would build on that foundation. So, how many of these works can become a strong foundation for leaders that are coming after us to be able to build upon? Now Paul said something in First Corinthians chapter 3:10. Paul said: “according to the grace of God, which was given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.”
Now did we see that statement? Paul was a great leader in the New Testament, he was one of the foremost apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, yet, he said something profound in that place. He said, everything he has done is at best a foundation and that those who are coming after him should mind how they build on that foundation. So, every leader must have this kind of mindset, that whatever we are doing right now is like a foundation that other would-be leaders will build upon. This is very, very important.
Now let’s go to reason number two. The number two reason why you and I as leaders must think transgenerationally is so that it will help to shape the kind of decisions that we make right now. Thinking transgenerationally helps in shaping the kind of decisions that we make right now, that we make today. You see, as a leader, you don’t want to make certain decisions right now that would jeopardize the future of the organization or the entity that you are leading. So, when you think trustgenerationally, for example, it helps you in your decision-making process. Now, I think it was Warren Buffett that said “someone is sitting in the shade today, because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Someone is sitting in the shade today because somebody took a wise decision a long time ago to plant a tree.
Now, what does that mean? Every decision we make today go straight into our future to wait for us. And this is why when we think transgenerationally, as leaders, one of the things that it does is that it helps us to make the right decisions. Now, let me give us an example of a bad leader who made a bad decision simply because he was not thinking transgenerationally. Now that example was king Hezekiah. If you read the book of Second Kings chapter 20, from verse 12-19, the Bible says:
“At that time Berodach-Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13 And Hezekiah was attentive to them, and showed them all the house of his treasures—the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory—all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them. 14 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say, and from where did they come to you?” So, Hezekiah said, “They came from a far country, from Babylon.” 15 And he said, “What have they seen in your house?” So, Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them.” 16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: 17 ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and what your fathers have accumulated until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says the Lord. 18 ‘And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’” 19 So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good!” For he said, “Will there not be peace and truth at least in my days?”
Now, here in this story, King Hezekiah didn’t care so much about the consequences of his decision on his future generation simply because he seek a temporary peace. He wanted a temporary peace. So, he didn’t care about the decision he took. He said: it doesn’t matter, his future generation can suffer. As long as he had peace in his days. King Hezekiah allowed an enemy to his kingdom and see things they were never meant to have seen. So as a consequence of that, his future generation were actually taking captive into Babylon simply because their forefathers Hezekiah made a terrible decision.
So, the lesson for us as leaders in this story is that as leaders, when we think transgenerationally, it will guide us in the way and manner we go about the decisions that we make today. If you are a leader that is always given to bad decision making, it is simply because you are not thinking transgenerationally. If you think ahead, if you think about the future, then it will help you to mellow down and slowdown in the way and manner you take certain decisions right now. I believe we got that.
The last point I want to show us is this: Thinking transgenerational generationally helps us to focus as leaders. I have also realized that transgenerational thinkers are very focused individuals, they are not easily distracted from the main cause, from the main assignment. If you look at the example of transgenerational leaders that we know you will see this trait in them, they are always focused. For example, Abraham was focused following God till the end, David also was focused on handing over leadership to the right person, he didn’t stop until he ensured that Solomon his son, was installed as king in his stead.
If you also look at the example of Jesus Christ, Christ Jesus was also a focused leader. At a point they wanted to make Him king, but He rejected it because that will be a distraction to His assignment. Jesus never got distracted. Every leader that will be transgenerational must embrace being focused as a hallmark. It is very, very important. If you are a focused leader, it will help you to think transgenerationally. I believe this is very, very important.
So, in summary, what we have been talking about is that as leaders, we must emulate thinking transgenerationally. And I’ve showed us three reasons why that is very necessary for us as leaders to think transgenerationally. Number one, it is because it helps us to build a solid foundation for the future generation of leaders that are coming after us. Number two, I said that when we think transgenerationally, it helps us in our decision-making process, it will not lead us into making bad decisions right now. When we think about the future and about the people that are coming after us, it will help us to make the right decisions, even from now. And then number three, when we think transgenerationally, it helps us to remain focused as leaders. We are not distracted from the main thing. We are not distracted from the main assignment.
I believe that as we put this into our leadership practice, we are going to see the outcome that it going to birth effectiveness and it is going to birth progress, and it is going to birth a solid future even for the generation of leaders that are coming after the us. This is what has been laid in my heart to share with us today on Leaderview and I believe you have learned one or two things. Thank you for the gift of your time. My name remains Abiola Obayomi. Please don’t forget to share this article with your friends and with leaders across the globe so that they can also get to learn from this podcast and benefit from it even as it is going to do our leadership assignment so good.
Till next time on leader view, remain blessed and God bless you.