In the end the outcomes of an organization always trace back to the chief executive leader. The leader may blame or explain, but affirming competent companies are a mirror image of the person at the helm. Leaders who are attentive to detail manufacture goods or provide services of high quality. Leaders who train and empower their employees cultivate a culture of creativity.
Transformational leaders are proactive and develop strategies with a specific mission and vision, see the company through the lens of SWOT analysis and provide tangible cairns on the road to the end goal. Strategies include objectives for the year and for as far out as realistic, knowing that over time, the objectives will need adjustment. For example, ask yourself what will the organization look like in three years? Is this what you want?
High level objective development is followed by determining the goals that will help the objective become a reality. Knowing that employees convinced against their will are of the same opinion still, they seek involvement and for successful accomplishment of your vision, strive for ways to involve employees. This helps the broader objectives to be accomplished and achieves engagement in all levels of the organization. Because this takes time, the process can be started a quarter before your fiscal year with the work beginning the first of the following quarter. Budgets can be tied into the goals to minimize financial surprises as work on the goals and objectives begin.
Transformational leaders have core values that define an organization’s culture. They hire well, selecting potential employees as much for their ability to fit the organization’s mission, vision and values as well as their technical prowess. Transformational leaders are attentive to the human resources they manage such as with benefits and compensation; flexibility with scheduling; policies and procedures for human resources and the organization overall; coaching, mentoring and counseling practices; and with a multitude of leadership philosophies that drive how employees are treated. These methods, done properly, create a mutual allegiance between the company and its employees. Some organizations provide perks such as food, beverages, kitchen facilities, health club passes, and many other creative actions that give the message to the employee that the chief executive and company care, or not…
Transformational leaders are attentive to the financial health of their business. Just as physicians use imaging procedures and lab tests to monitor the health of their patients, effective leaders use financial statements, staff turnover rates, employee and customer satisfaction surveys and a variety of quality metrics to monitor the health of their company.
If the chief executive cares about people, the organization runs differently that when it is second to another motive. If the chief executive believes employees are dispensable and filling the open slot is a quick action requiring little thought, the organization runs differently than if the chief believes employees are a most important asset and should be carefully chosen with every attempt to keep them.
If what the business offers isn’t clear or changes with every opportunity that comes up, the business may be economically successful, but the leader and consequently employees will have a hard time articulating what it the organization is about. And there will be variation in how the management team functions in order to shift with the next opportunity. If what the business offers is clear and of value to the customers and exciting to employees, then it is about how the products or services are delivered that make or break the organization over time.
How the business is delivered is also a reflection on the chief executive. There is a degree of risk-taking that is required of the chief executive in effort to achieve the organization’s mission and vision. If the executive is risk averse, s/he tends to replicate strategies from other organizations that have tried them first and succeeded. If the executive is a risk taker s/he may actually put into motion strategies that are disruptive to the market, making it difficult for others to keep up, respond or replicate quickly.
How the business is delivered reflects the chief executive. Depending on the executive’s operating style, the organization will shift to match it. If the leader is highly driven, the organization will be driven; if punitive in style, the organization will be fear-based; if transformational, the organization will be nimble and creative, and so on.
No matter what part of the business is reviewed, the functions will reflect the leader ultimately.
Because it is all about the leader, be focused with everything in your business. Ask yourself:
- What core values drive you and why?
- What core values do you want in your company?
- How consistent are you in modeling the values you selected?
- Do you know what kind of culture you desire? Is it consistent with the current culture(s)?
- Do you have a vision for your organization?
- Do you align your management team around your vision?
- Do you know what you desire in employees?
- Do you hire decisively?
- Do you hire well?
- Do you engage and empower employees?
- Do you know how to successfully get things done through others?
- Is your business volume and sales going in the direction you desire?
- Do you know your competition and why customers choose them instead of you?
- Do you know why customers choose your company?
The answers drive you as a leader and how you operate shapes your organization. Answering these questions is a great step toward thinking more purposefully. Be determined in everything you do in and with your business and watch your business thrive. After all when it comes right down to it organizationally, it is all about the leader!