The focus of this month’s blogs is Leadership. I define Leadership as Inspiring and Developing Others. Leadership is being played out on the world stage with what is happening in Ukraine and around the globe. It is also being played out in families as parents inspire and develop their children to lead in the next generation. It is important to mention that leadership is not a position of authority, that refers to management. Also, it is not uncommon for one to be a great manager and yet not so great of a leader and vice versa. Management and Leadership skills and behaviors are different.
Through my Leadership Development business, The Fralix Group, I have been speaking, consulting, and coaching on Leadership since 1993, almost thirty years! I have often used a model I developed, The Leadership Model, for this purpose.
At the top of the Leadership Model is Strategy, which includes Vision, Mission, Values, and Goals. Vision is direction, where we are going. The biblical verse, “Without vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) comes to mind. One reference mentions this phrase as the importance of vision in Leadership, stating, “Without a long-term plan-without a vision-people are doomed to wander aimlessly.” This phrase has, of course, broader implications of faith, not merely referring to leadership in business. But in the context of this article, our focus is business. One example of a popular company’s vision is: “… to be the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world.” Can you guess which company this is?
Mission refers to purpose, the purpose of a business. Vision and Mission are usually developed by executive management and shared with others throughout the organization. Can you guess whose mission statement is: “To bring the best personal computing products and support to students, educators,…around the world?”
Values are behaviors. There are many examples of behaviors that are important in organizations. For Values/behaviors to be meaningful requires that they be developed with staff at every level in an organization. Examples of behaviors include integrity, (a complicated word, but often a value of organizations) customer-centered, authenticity, compassion, trustworthiness, and sustainability. There are many others. It is important to note that organizational values are not personal values. It is possible that the organizational values are not the same as the values of the individuals within the organization. That is fine, as long as the individuals do not behave in a manner inconsistent with the organization’s values.
Goals are intentions/targets. Like Values, these are often established with individuals throughout the organization. These are specific, and to be effective, one should follow the SMART philosophy. “S” is specific; “M” is measurable; “A” is achievable; “R” is relevant; and “T” is time-bound. Goals should be long-term and short-term. Given the rapidity of change, most long-term Goals are no longer than five-year goals.
The top of the Leadership Model, Strategy, is the accountability of executive management. While others may be involved in developing aspects of the organization’s Strategy, executive leaders are accountable for them. While executive management can delegate the responsibility of developing Values and Goals to others in the organization, they cannot delegate their accountability for them. This is an important distinction.
The left side of the Leadership Model Triangle is People. People in all positions are needed to be Confident, (not arrogant, but confident,) Competent, (in human skills and technical skills,) and Committed (dependable being more important than loyal.) This is the individual aspect of the Leadership model.
The right side of the Leadership Model triangle is Systems, which can be thought of as anything outside of the individual that is necessary for individuals to get their work done effectively. Management is a system, and when the management system is not working well, individuals are adversely impacted. Teamwork is a system. Communication is a system. There are other systems as well.
In the center of the Triangle are the Customers, both internal (staff) and external (paying customers or those the organization serves.) It is often asked which customers are most important, the internal customers or the external ones. My answer to that question is, “It is foolish for an organization to expect the internal customers to treat the external customers any better than they perceive they are treated by the organization.”
As one considers The Leadership Model, assume that if there is a weakness in any of the three parts of the triangle, Customers will not be well served.
Think of Strategy, People, and Systems as the key determinants of Leadership. And not just for companies, but for your life as well.
Do you have a Strategy for your life? What is your Vision for your life? What is your direction? What is your Mission, your purpose? What are the Values/behaviors most necessary for you to accomplish your Vision and Mission? What are your Goals?
Are you Confident, Competent, and Committed? Do you have Systems in place that are necessary for you to be successful?
Leadership is all about inspiring and developing. Is it possible that the most important person for us to lead is ourself?