Never Burn Your Bridges

Bridge-building is an act of spanning the here and now with the there and then. It is very time-consuming and never-ending.

Bridge-building is an act of spanning the here and now with the there and then. It is very time-consuming and never-ending.

Managers in the new millennium need to be architects of consensus, not conspirators of dissension. They will need to traverse the chasms of conflict that often erupt unrecognized and unsuspectingly as their departments evolve and stretch beyond the zones of familiarity. They will also need to keep a watchful eye on the competition in order to pick apart their products, decipher their shortcomings, and remove all doubt that their own products are better mousetraps.

Managerial engineers mold the best of the best. They reach over traditional boundaries and self-imposed limits in order to secure a foothold in the competitor’s backyard and a toehold in their own department’s environment. They are always looking to get a leg up. They ply their own ideas. They encourage others with their deeply held values. And they energize the emotions of their team around these clearly articulated ideas and values.

Millennium managers are passionate ... always pushing the frontiers to see new vistas. They are always searching for new visions. They enjoy the close-ups and the full views . . . alternating their perspectives to adapt their vision. They see potential unfold in the present moment. They never lose sight of their own beginnings and never waiver in their optimism for the pursuit of the endless possibilities of the future. They are relentless in their search for a better tomorrow . . . for themselves and their team.

Millennium managers are street fighters. They can make decisions by following their gut feelings and instincts. They listen, digest input from others, integrate, synthesize, weigh and balance information, and then they act on their own informed intuition. By setting themselves up as examples of inquisitive purposefulness, they empower their teams to make decisions. For them the end result of making good decisions isn’t doing things right—it’s making sure that the team’s focus is on the right things.

Millennium managers are “webbed to the Net.” E-commerce, e-business, e-services, e-retailers, e-everything—that’s the doorway to the future for these entrepreneurs in a digital business world. The telephone transformed international trade. The fax revolutionized intercontinental communications. The computer restructured worldwide business. The Net will simplify and level the playing fields of all global enterprises. Any small business can be a big business on the Internet.

Bridge-builders to the future will use the ever-expanding technology of the Internet to grow their businesses. They see technology not as a threat, but as a partner in a more “connected” future.

Building bridges to the future is just a variation on an old theme: the determination of the human species to communicate and speak to its own future.