Strategy can emerge from a gap analysis illustrating where you are currently, your mission, vs your vision of where you want to be. Strategies, goals and objectives can all be set once the mission and vision are identified and agreed upon, and those strategies must be in alignment with the mission, and the organizations overall vision. Its extremely important to identify a unifying strategy(s) and to gain buy – in from all stakeholders in the value chain, and that includes customers, suppliers, employees, bank, and board.
Congratulations! You’ve just been hired as CEO of a company in deep financial trouble. The ownership and board of directors have given you free reign to do your job, and you feel up to the task of leading the effort, but you have limited time to turn this ship around, and get it moving in a different more profitable direction.
What will be your plan starting Monday, your first day on the new job… the first month…the first six months. How will you evaluate and manage the company and its processes. How will you engage with the customers?
Roselinde Torres, in a recent TED talk, describes a new 21st Century world which is global, digitally enabled, transparent, with faster speeds of information flow and innovation, and where nothing big gets done without some sort of a complex matrix. Ms. Torres suggests that leadership is defined by three important questions that we should be considering for ourselves as leaders, and for those whom we lead.
Innovation can be iterative and lineal, as in re-engineering a product component or a work process. It can also be transformational, when entirely new technologies are discovered, such as life changing medical devices like the pacemaker, the Cochlear Implant, or the personal computer. Others come to mind, such as the automobile, or the internet.
Are you passionate about your work as a leader? You know the answer, and what may come as a surprise, so does your team. If you aren’t, you may be frustrated, ineffective, and struggling to get results. It may be the reason you are not making progress.
Pope Francis, the Pontiff of the Catholic Church and spiritual leader to 1.2 billion Roman Catholic’s worldwide, is known for doing things that are considered contrary to the traditional role of a Pontiff.
He is attempting an amazing turnaround…the reformation of one of the oldest and greatest institutions in the history of mankind, and doesn’t want to be idolized, lifted up, or pandered to just because of his position in the Church. He is setting a new direction for the Catholic Church, which desperately needs reformation, and is doing so by setting himself up as a servant leader, one with great humility.
The most important and long lasting decisions you make as a leader have to do with the people you hire. How you shape the job posting, and then recruit, interview, hire, on-board, and train new people, and how you position them will have an enormous impact on the effectiveness and value of the organization. If you are hiring the right people who might be different than you and have great capacity to do things you can't do, then the organization increases in capacity. You need to model this behavior and drive it throughout the leadership team. Diversity of ideas will promote innovation, growth, and eventually creation of great value.
Strategy, Structure, and Culture... Get one wrong and you might have a chance for success. Get two wrong and you are out of the running before the race starts. Get all three right, and you'll be sure to succeed. It's important to get back to basics to discover what you are doing and where you are headed. Do you have a Culture of Trust in your organization? If not, you are missing one of the most important links to the ongoing success and value of your company.
What is a thought leader?
Wikipedia defines thought leadership as follows: A thought leader is an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded. The Oxford English Dictionary gives as its first citation for the phrase an 1887 description of Henry Ward Beecher as "one of the great thought-leaders in America."
There really isn’t anything like a safe job in a safe company anymore. Job security has become a casualty of disruptive innovation. Earlier generations spent entire careers in the same company in a ‘cradle to grave’ track. My father worked for two companies in roles of progressively greater responsibilities during his career. I have worked for or started six companies during my career.
Remember the Trojan Horse? This military strategy used by the Greeks won for them a long running battle with Troy. The Greeks loaded a wooden horse with troops secretly placed inside, and the Trojans pulled the horse into their city as a victory trophy while the Greeks pretended to sail away in defeat. At night, the Greek soldiers came out of their hiding place, and opened the gates of Troy for the rest of the Greek army who had sailed back during the night. The Greeks decisively ended the 10 year war with Troy with a surprise strategy that was both innovative and disruptive.
Quotations from luminaries whether in business, sports, medicine, law, or politics can inspire and clarify. A great quote is concise and crisp, capturing a thought or idea in an entirely new way.
Great quotes can speak directly into our own unique situations. One quote from Peter Drucker on leadership said ‘Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.’ Of course, he is right about getting results, but in my own view Drucker leaves something on the table for debate.
In a recent Peer to Peer discussion with some CEO’s, most were defensive on the topic of how to deliver an outstanding customer experience. They mostly felt that their employees were always focused on the customer. One CEO said his company has data showing their consistent delivery of full customer satisfaction through customer surveys reflecting on time deliveries, rapid response rates on corrective actions, on time billing, and so forth.