- Possession of a Long-Term Orientation
A fully self-actualized leader always strives to create a long-lasting legacy. His/her actions should outlive the duration of his/her stay in the organization. The constant question is, “How are my actions today going to benefit or affect the survival of the organizations?” This is critical in the sense that the organization and the people working in the organization are placed before the needs of a leader. At the other end of the spectrum, some leaders can possess a strong sense of individualism or even narcissist behavior where it is all about them. There is nothing else but the leader, his/her views are golden, own agenda is pushed with no care of what will happen to the entity in the future. This has led to the downfall of many organizations. The incoming leader will surely have work cut out for them and more often than not has to start all over again. A self-absorbed leader will not even make it an agenda item to ready successors, which brings us to the next point.
Opening of Doors to Ideas
As discussed in my article some weeks ago titled “Organizational Culture Through the Eyes of Prof Geert Hofstede.” The Hofstede model of national culture consists of six dimensions.
Let’s discuss one of them, the aspect of Individualism versus Collectivism. Individualism can be defined as a preference for a loosely-knit social framework in which individuals are expected to take care of only themselves and their immediate families and in the corporate world their inner circle. Be it as it may, some leaders are guilty of chasing “super heroism” and good ideas can only come from them. Even more bothersome, cheerleaders have to endorse the super heroism and this disadvantages other employees outside the circle. Collectivism should be espoused and encouraged by leaders. It can never be a one-man show. Greatness can come from anyone in the organization and everyone should be treated equally and fairly.
Learning, Re-learning and Re-alignment
Life was never meant to be constant. That is why we grow taller and wiser. The business environment evolves and is dictated to by a number of factors as I discussed in part 1, be it the macro or micro environment, things are never static. Great strategic leaders have learnt the art of accepting this inevitable reality and persistently confront the new future through harnessing intimate knowledge, research and study on how to navigate the deep waters. Opportunities and threats are mapped out clearly and a plan of action devised. This can only happen if the leader is always willing to learn, unlearn what he/she knows and open up to re-learning new ideas. The learning is not only transmitted through a formal process but even an informal process such as allowing the team around you to galvanize your thinking through seeing life from different perspectives is crucial and must be encouraged at all times.
Continually strive for a development of a strong Corporate Culture
We hear it all the time, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Imagine what a bad culture can do to an organization where poor performance is tolerated, unethical behavior is allowed, there is clear favoritism, and promotions are not given on merit. Will things work in this organization? I doubt. Such organizations are clearly on auto-pilot and no leaders behind the wheel. Yes, some organizations have gotten away with such due a number of reasons such as the brand and goodwill but the shadows always close and soon things will go dark. I urge my readers to research more on this and what ultimately happens to them. We even have local examples, so look no further. Strategic leaders always see examples of a bad culture and always deal with dissidents immediately, through a formal process. The best way to start, have values in place, and they need to be clear to everyone. And yes, employees should be assisted in total understanding of these values, although in some other professions you don’t even need to be told what is wrong and what it right. In the financial services sector, we are expected to carry ourselves with outmost professionalism, respect our clients, respect their assets that we are entrusted with, and respect our colleagues and other industry professionals.
Mavericks of a fail-safe Environment
For most employees, a great deal of time is spent in their offices than at home. Indeed, WFH thanks/maybe no thanks to COVID-19 has changed that dynamic but either way, even when working from home you are mentally and physically occupied with demands of your role. Imagine an environment that makes one feel like a prisoner at Alcatraz. Just one mistake: you go into a cage or a grave. You can’t even be creative and come up with a new innovation or product, the reason being that if it fails to take off, you have wasted company resources and an appointment with the disciplinary committee is up next to decide your fate. Strategic thinkers don’t subscribe to this thinking. They have learnt that creativity, innovation, respectful freedom expression can catapult organizations to the top and will provide a conducive environment for employees to continually want to improve things through new processes, products and services.
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