Keys to Business Success
Highlights by David Willden
Business success starts with great leadership. Jim Collins found that those few companies that had gone from being a good company to a truly great company all had what he called “level 5 leaders” (see diagram below). Level 5 leaders are deeply passionate towards the cause of the organization (professional will). They are humble, realizing their own limitations. They realize they need the best that everyone has to offer, want to see others grow, and thus are participatory leaders.
Perhaps a great leader is like a wonderful mother who care deeply. She takes whatever risk is needed regardless of the situation. She comforts, she loves, and she will fight when needed with an unconquerable spirit to protect the innocent.
It seems that great leaders are not (or should not” typically be found behind big desks. Their passion for the cause and for the people they work with is too strong. They hunger to be out with the people nurturing and building. They are humble, passionate for the cause, participative, focused, and have the need strategic leadership skills needed to ensure the organization is successful.
Another key to business success is “focus.” The most admired companies seem to find, research and think deeply about answers to the most important questions to their success.In the case of Southwest Airlines, the most important question was “how can we become the lowest cost carrier?” Everyone at Southwest Airlines knew of that objective and used it to guide their decisions.
Most organizations set broad objectives and then paradoxically to focus on too many competing priorities at one time – thus diluting chances of success. Focusing on “top priorities” seems simple in principle, but it is rarely is practiced in real life.
Siloed functional organizations often contribute to the problem. Self-interest gets in the way of organizational success. Additionally, too much focus on a narrow expertise leads organizations and individuals to become more and more fascinated by nuance and complexity and to lose a sense of priority.
For ten years, Heike Bruch and Sumantra Ghoshal studied the behavior of busy managers. What is interesting is that they found that 90% of managers squander almost of their time in ineffective activities. The researchers found that only “10% of the managers spent their time in a committed, purposeful, and reflective manner.” It was the 10% who were the ones who made a substantive, bottom-line difference to the organization, and essentially the others on their shoulders.
Strategic leadership is a vital. It involves developing, planning out, and implementing successful business strategies. There is a soft and technical side to strategic leadership. The “technical side” can be subdivided into three sub-categories: