How far ahead is a half-step ahead?

Today Bekki Smith and I were working with an executive vice president who mentioned the idea that leaders need to be focusing on a more extended time span than the people they are leading. Our client shared that this concept comes from Jaques and Cason, and their book titled Human Capability.


The idea is that leaders need to be scouting ahead for the resources and direction needed for success. For example, managers need to be focused on the next couple of quarters while people working in a function work toward a successful couple of months. The next level leader should be focused on a successful couple of years, and so on.

This idea completely meshes with a section from my upcoming book The Ripple Effect, where I talk about leaders needing to be just a half-step ahead of their teams. Too far ahead and the leader can't benefit from what the team sees, not to mention that the team will feel disconnected from the leader. Not far ahead enough and the team will be hesitant to take risks.

The balance is for the leader looking and being far enough ahead, yet staying connected to the team and the reality team members are dealing with.

Chris Hutchinson, CEO 

Chris Hutchinson, CEO 

So - how far ahead are you ahead of your team? Or better yet - how's your team doing with where you are? 


Chris Hutchinson

As CEO of Trebuchet Group, Chris Hutchinson thrives working with clients and his team to improve organizational clarity, teamwork, and leadership impact.

After years of building Legos® and tree houses around the world, Chris earned his Mechanical Engineering degree and followed that with an MBA. His experiences in the military and the business world taught him great leadership can be learned, and everyone is in some way a leader.

Clients and peers describe him as an inspirational catalyst for positive change. He is the author of Ripple - A Field Manual for Leadership That Works.

Chris and his wife live, garden, and bike in Fort Collins, Colorado, and have four children. He has an unrequited love affair with brownies.