We asked members of the Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) to about their vision for the next five years, and how they will address the challenges they will face.

Embrace Change

Companies evolve as the people within them change. With a new generation inducted into the workforce, business leaders face unprecedented challenges. Our new team members will have different expectations and this will certainly impact the way we lead them.

I have read articles labeling younger generation workers as "lazy," but I believe they are actually just motivated and wired differently. With more of them continuing to enter the workforce, possessing a range of specialized skill sets, our ability to lead, empower, and inspire them to action will impact our ability to grow our businesses.

One of the key challenge for future leaders will be articulating the 'Why' of their companies and departments. I've experienced a significant company redirection and from this, I learned who we are and what we stand for. During that time, we noticed significant increase in engagement from the team and a desire to play a greater role.

Understanding the needs of individuals and providing more flexibility to help them achieve the balance they desire is another challenge. For me, the challenge is not so much in the approach but in restructuring the way we work as a team to allow for those flexibilities to occur without interruption to our output and workflows.

Creating holistic work environments with a focus on energy management and not hours worked can help overcome these challenges. I believe that by focusing on efficiency, work can energize and not drain my team. In turn, this empowers them to do other important things in their lives and gain more work-life satisfaction.

John Cinquina, EO Perth
CEO, Red Meets Blue Design

Adopt Flexibility

While interviewing new hires and dealing with existing team members, I'm realizing that flexibility has become one of the most important job features. In many cases, this is more important than the financial rewards. It's not just the ability to work from home at times, but also being able to set one's own hours and schedule. This idea is difficult to fully adopt, and it will be a key leadership challenge going forward.

Technology though certainly enables this type of work arrangement. Internal social networking tools like Chatter and Slack are great for collaboration. Instant messaging and instant video tools empower a team to stay connected, even when working remotely. So it's actually our belief systems that may be the limiting factors holding us back from a more flexible work environment.

Leaders who can figure out how to increase productivity by empowering flexible remote teams and providing improved quality of life for their staff, may have a big competitive advantage not only in terms of team satisfaction, but also in costs savings on the biggest line item expense for most businesses: salaries.

RJ Lewis, EO New Jersey
President and CEO, e-Healthcare Solutions

Published on: Mar 13, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.