By Terry McKenna
Regardless of size, it takes a lot to be a successful enterprise, particularly today as organizations are now operating in the Covid-19 New Normal. There’s a lot of moving parts within an organization: processes, business model, alignment, strategies, customers, and of course, employees. Tying it all together can be challenging. But’s that’s where leadership comes it. Behind every great organization, is strong leadership. Employees execute strategies, leaders drive strategies. Leaders ensure the business processes (e.g. Business Model) consistently deliver the brand standard – what you stand for in the mind’s of your customers; the one thing you want customers to associate with your brand only. Leaders ensure the organization is properly aligned to execute their strategies; alignment of: strategy, business model and people.
Perhaps the biggest responsibility of leaders, especially today, is ensuring organizational alignment. Aside from alignment of business model to strategy, alignment of the organizations most critical resource and assets: people. Do I have the right people (talent) with the skills, capacity, and desire to execute my organization’s strategy at a high level? I like to think of people-alignment as one of those row teams you see at the Ivy League universities and Summer Olympics. The top teams can hit speeds of 14-miles an hour. That’s pretty fast! People alignment is all about ensuring the right people are in the boat and the wrong people off the boat, in the correct seats, properly trained and prepared to use their oars, understanding their role, the destination, and with the desire to win. Does your organizations have this type of people alignment?
Consider these results from a 2019 worldwide study by PricewaterhouseCoopers on people alignment:
39% Can’t see the value their jobs create.
22% Strengths aren’t being full leveraged.
66% Do not strongly contribute to their organizations’ success.
53% Aren’t even ‘somewhat” motivated, passionate, or excites about their jobs.
Allow me to put this data into the context of a 9-player baseball team:
4 players don’t understand what to do or why.
8 players do not see a connection to their position and winning.
7 players aren’t enthusiastic about playing or winning.
If you were the manager of this baseball team, what are you odds of winning a championship? Forget championship, what are your odds of winning a single game?
Leaders get paid for two things: lead and results. Popularity is not leadership, results are. Great leaders do not seek to please their followers, but rather seek to build their own credibility and earn trust and respect. Trust and respect vs being your friend. Greater leaders are not preachers, they’re doers. Great leaders lead from the front, not from the sidelines. Great leaders transmit their energy to their teams, setting both the speed and the pace. Great leaders are consistent and predictable – this is how trust id established. Employees need to know where their leaders are coming from and how they will react to situations. Great leaders help their people succeed by listening to them, supporting them, and removing barriers so that they can accomplish their goals that will make the organization’s vision become a reality. Great leaders develop the next generation of leaders. Does this describe your organization’s leaders? If not, then what’s your plan?
Think of leaders as stage setters, not the performers. How well are the leaders in your organization setting the stage for victory, both today and into the future? Have you prepared your leaders with the skills, confidence and tools to lead your organization into an unknown future? The only thing we know for certain about the future is that it’s coming faster, and as a result skill sets are becoming obsolete faster. Organizations need to be in a continuous retooling mode for their leaders skill-sets. Think of it as driving 100 MPH with the ability to change the lug nuts at the same time.
Perhaps Mr. Jack Welch, former CEO of GE said it best: “Control your own destiny or someone else will.”