I am honored to have been asked on many occasions to forecast or speak about financial trends and whilst this is dynamic it increasingly needs to incorporate the greater leadership challenges that executives face. It is with confidence that I say ‘your leadership and that of your managers will be of paramount importance this year and their development the single best investment you could make.’
My leadership forecast.
First Line Leadership is important
The first line of leadership can often be overlooked and yet they are your first customer facing persona – an integral part of your company brand. If properly trained they can use those skills to step into bigger leadership roles and that powerfully enables them to help your organization become more and more customer centric. They in turn grow to be effective managers. Your training and development budgets should not overlook the first line of leadership.
As we have experienced, developing people skills is highly beneficial for all leaders at all levels. Becoming a leader is not just about fighting one’s way to the top but more about thoughtfully and persuasively engaging others to produce results. You need to know how to manage the people you are trying to lead and this requires your investing some time in getting to know your people. There are excellent skills development programs offered for eg by Organizational Development specialists, Consultants and Coaches.
Leadership penetrates every level within an organization. Decisions made at executive level will impact even the most junior staff and the challenge is therefore to lead with strong values eg alertness, approachability and or congruency. In so doing, executives birth more leaders like themselves, capitalizing on rich people skills. This creates a collective tone of leadership and democratic decision making that is vital for survival today.
Collaboration with others
Business is no longer an entity in its own right. The Internet and Social Media has driven company brands into the hands of the consumers and they are gravitating towards companies that are using social media to dialogue with them about social issues. A well-known example of this is the Pepsi Refresh Project that used crowdsourcing (this is a task or problem that is outsourced to an undefined public) and invites consumers to co-create where Pepsi puts its charitable contributions.
The point is that social media is a powerful rationale for why corporations must begin partnering with the rising tide of customers who can now demand new standards for corporate behavior and much more. It stands to reason then, that the business economy is also becoming more and more inter-dependent and inter-related than ever before. Corporate values need to be continuously aligned with those of society for eg sustainability projects in housing in order to grow and maintain profitability.
We are being challenged from every corner of the Globe to come up with innovations. The market place has become extremely dynamic and won’t accommodate anything that is old school or obsolete. Your own audit will inform you of how readily your company is aligned creatively with the market. How often and how regularly are you making new products or services available for public consumption?
Trending leadership is allowing for innovative thinking and turning old models upside down.
One of your best investments is your people and whilst the returns may not all be immediately felt, do so, now more than ever.