Only 60 out of 500 companies in Fortune 500 list of 1955 were in the same list in 2017. Successful companies in an era could not demonstrate the agility to stay the course. They were the best in the world; had the access to the best resources – financial, knowledge, expertise, technology and so on. Yet 88% of the global best fell from the charts. This proves us one thing – leadership is at the foundation of the company’s success.
The choices made by the top leaders from time to time and the behaviours that they show determine the course and the future. Organizations face challenges on daily basis, especially in the dynamic, uncertain and volatile world of business we live in. There are multiple forces that operate on the business. Some of these are visible while some of these are hard to anticipate and comprehend. The leader has to deal with all these and keep his or her flock together on the right path.
Countries have faced assassination of their popular leader, war threats to wars, unprecedented natural calamities, mishaps and accidents leading to loss of lives and unsafe living conditions. Companies have faced crisis of extinction, loss of reputation, lawsuits pushing them to irrevocable losses for years and so on. There are several other crises which are smaller compared to the ones deliberated in public view. They occur more frequently and challenge the head of the business with stressful situations. These may be small in magnitude when viewed from a distance but are equally testing of the leader’s ability.
He or she has to protect the credibility of the business, keep the flock together, identify the weak spots, fill the cracks, act on the guilty, strengthen the systems and processes to avoid the pitfall and provide the much-desired confidence to the stakeholders about the future. All of these need to happen quickly and seamlessly.
Needless to say that the leader has to bring the team together, work with them overtime to not only find the solutions but also to communicate all over. The leader comes under high levels of duress to deal with emotions within the organization as well as outside. Staying calm helps in spotting the cracks, anticipating situations and developing the plan. Organizations cannot endure the ordeal unless the leader is adept in the hours of crises.
Companies hold exit interviews. More often than not, the most important reason for people leaving the organization was better opportunities. The stated reason for leaving could be better salary, better opportunity, higher studies, but the real reason is something else.
Somewhere in the core of the heart, a few things go out of sync with what the employee experiences at work. The noise grows louder and over a period of time, it snaps a few chords in the heart. The opportunities which were not very appealing earlier start to look shiner and brighter. And one fine day, the innings comes to an end. It is the leader who has to be in tune with the ground reality, gauge the noise levels and take actions to cancel the noise at the right time.
Business Leaders have to partner with their HR Team to get all people managers to build harmony in the team, push them to greater heights and nurse the injuries at the right time. They have to build strength in the team to be able to endure tough terrains and at the same time, keep their heads steady while cruising at high altitudes.
It is not enough for the top leader and the HR Team to advise and preach to the managers across the organization. They need to see the prescribed behaviours demonstrated by their bosses and feel inspired. Like a gardener builds a conducive environment for the plants in the garden to grow well, the leader has to nurture the managerial talent in the organization to flower forth.
The layers of managers in the organization drive their teams forward towards the goals of the day, week and quarter. However, what separates one organization from the other is the manner in which the teams are driven, the principles used for rewards and recognition, the way conflicts are dealt with, the way opportunities are seized and the focus on all stakeholders of a business. World’s best organizations stay course if their leaders do the right things!
It is the leader who builds a great team, challenges them, protects them and reinforces regularly. Easier said than done! It takes a lot of character and hard work to sow the seeds of success in an organization.
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