Leading business today requires constantly adapting and improving
Thursday, July 5 2012
THIS was the underlying message of Leadership Expert Cheryl Cran’s presentation at a seminar that I attended recently, hosted by the Business Development Company in conjunction with Republic Bank. The theme of this Excellence in Business Forum was “Bridging the Gap” and one well chosen by the organisers since this is something that ALL business owners need to be thinking about in these challenging opportunity-filled times.
Identifying the gaps in your business requires you asking in key areas of your business operations – “Where are we now?” and “Where would we like to be?”
Today I want you to focus on the leadership within your business and the gaps that exist in your team. Are your leaders engaged and efficient? According to Cheryl, “Engaged leaders equal engaged employees which equals growth and innovation.”
The leadership model as we know it is changing as the workplace evolves into a more democratised environment. In the new normal, Gallup’s Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton, tells us that the old ways of doing business won’t work anymore. The men and women who will conquer this new world will be the ones who best understand their constituencies’ state of mind. And state of mind is everything that matters to leadership: talent, innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, optimism, determination, and all the other things that create economic growth.
Leadership capability is a real issue with businesses these days – regardless of whether you’re in the private or the public sector. We feel the effects of the lack of adept leaders in the public service only because it’s a public service but don’t point fingers there while ignoring your own challenges. If we really desire improvement as we say across the board in the business sector within our twin-island Republic, then we have a lot of work to do!
Because the times are hard, leaders spend most of their time pursuing new business and looking at ways to forge longer term client relationships. But this cannot be your only focus. Many businesses are operating with employees who were initially engaged but now because of poor leadership direction are either disengaged and efficient – doing the very minimum to keep on payroll or disengaged and inefficient – barely hanging on by a thread where their next infraction will lead to them being fired!
Too much time is spent bashing employees and talking about how ineffective the lot of them are. But what about you Mr and Mrs Leader – have you stopped to consider that perhaps they are HOW THEY ARE because of you and how you choose to lead or not lead?
Here’s is a BIG IDEA from Ms Cran, that you should allow to settle and guide your thinking as you chart your way forward. “The biggest opportunity for all organisations right now is to provide tools and training to their leaders on how to lead in the new workplace of multiple personality types, multiple generations and unparalleled technological change.”
Can you see why leadership requires more skill today than ever before? Not only are we dealing with differing personality types but they’re of different generations too! And it gets even more ticklish when Gen X and Y ARE the leaders leading the pack!
Quality and price don’t matter as much anymore. If you’re staking your business on only these two variables then you’re definitely in danger. With globalisation, almost everything can be made just as well or more cheaply somewhere else. Excellent quality has become the point of entry in most markets, and is expected from every supplier. Touting that you are providing excellent quality is no longer a competitive advantage – it is expected. And you know that regardless of what you quote there is almost always someone who can usually deliver at the same or better price point and level of excellence.
There is also very little left that could be leveraged as a competitive advantage in the way of process improvement. You can “process improve” and “lean manage” your company to death without making much headway if you don’t focus genuinely on your people.
If you truly want to survive and thrive dedicate a large percentage of your time seeking to understand those folks that you lead. What motivates them to work? How do they think about the future? How do they feel about following and more importantly – following you?
The next evolution of leadership requires a change in thinking, understanding, application and approach. The new areas of leadership that you must master now are innovation, talent and entrepreneurship within the context of your business. This is what will drive business growth in this new economy but only if you’re prepared to ensure that you know how to lead with an in-depth understanding of states of mind and the generation specific mindsets versus an in-depth understanding of financial statements. That’s where the low-hanging fruit is in the business world as we know it today. Have you thought about how you intend to bridge your leadership talent gap?
Giselle Hudson is a speaker, author, Business Performance Improvement Consultant and Coach, ‘improving business results and building capability by helping people discover their best selves and do their best work’ since 1994. If you’re ready to raise the bar on the present performance level in your business and life then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for your FREE copy of “The 3 Steps to Profitable Business Transformation – Leading Performance Improvement that Lasts”