Working with my clients I am often confronted with questions about implementing the latest technology, upgrading the infrastructure or equipment and improving processes. While this is all very important it is easy to overlook the one common denominator: the people in the organization. It is not our technology, equipment or processes that generate results; it is the people in our companies and organizations that make things happen and create the results. If you have the right people on the bus in the right seats, to paraphrase Jim Collins, you have made two steps forward. If these people have the right knowledge, skills and attitude you may be able to do much more with what you have as an infrastructure already.
When you create a culture in your organization where you nurture maximizing the potential of every individual on the team, the team will consequently maximize the potential of the organization. Topping this off with the latest technology and other investments will enable an organization to move to new heights. If you invest into people first, investments into infrastructure, technology and processes have a far greater impact and become significantly more cost effective. While the other way around is often more tempting, it yields considerably lower return and adds frustration every step of the way. In the end, it becomes clearly a question of leadership effectiveness branded in Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great” as Level 5 Leadership.
Reflecting on this background as a leader, are you asking yourself the difficult questions like…
- Am I generating the results I have been hired for?
- Am I leading by example?
- Do I motivate my people effectively?
- Have I developed a comprehensive set of “leadership tools” and do I use them in a result-focused manner?
- Do I invest my time into the right things?
- Do I create a culture of accountability?
- Is there genuine passion and enthusiasm prevalent in my department, division or company?
- What do I do to maximize the potential of the people around me?
- Could I do better?
There are three facts I take a strong position on:
- The only reason we need leaders in any organization is to create results.
- Leadership is creating results THROUGH people.
- Leadership is situational.
Obviously, this sounds simple enough. The word “through” is the key word in this context. The unfolding complexity which that particular word unleashes contains the challenges of effective leadership.
How is your “through” functioning?
The “through” is defined by the way we communicate, interact, set, plan and achieve goals, establish an environment of accountability, relate a vision, and establish an atmosphere where people can get motivated. Such an atmosphere would also inspire people to determine and apply their values, establish strong self-disciple, learn to love others and strengthen their relationships, balance their lives, and more.
The term “situational” in this context is about just that: Every situation with every individual or group is in essence different for the leader.
Recognizing that fact would suggest to reflect on your “leadership tool box” as a leader. Is it sufficient? Would you become a more effective leader if you could expand your tool box into a comprehensive array of “leadership tools”? What are you going to do about that?
In the end, our behavior creates the results, and as leaders, our behavior creates the results we achieve through people. Become the most effective leader you can be by assessing yourself, and looking within for the changes that may need to happen to achieve that goal. My challenge to any leader is simple: If you don’t get the results you desire, as a leader it is your leadership behavior that requires change and the intellectual mirror is the best place to start that journey.