Define Your Personal Leadership Brand in Five Steps

This article summarizes in a way the main ideas and insights of Ulrich & Smallwood in their book: “Leadership Brand: Developing Customer-Focused Leaders to Drive Performance and Build Lasting Value”. It’s one of the good books I read on Leadership and the role of leadership celebrities.Ulrich and Smallwood articulated the way to build a leadership brand by handling the following aspects and answering the following questions:

2010 IBM Global CEO Study & How To Ignite Creative Leadership In Your Organization

I’m sharing an article from HBR blogs that summarizes and adds to the 2010 IBM Global CEO Study, a wonderful and insightful piece of work to energize today’s corporations. Go thru the article, and download IBM study here.

IBM just released its 2010 Global CEO Study based on face-to-face interviews conducted with over 1,500 CEOs spanning 60 countries and 33 industries.

Here are some key points from the study:

Even if the recession is over, 79% CEOs expect the business environment to become even more complex in coming years.
More than half of CEOs doubt their ability to manage this escalating complexity.
Western CEOs anticipate economic power to rapidly shift to developing markets, and foresee heavier regulation ahead.
A majority of CEOs cite creativity as the most important leadership quality required to cope with growing complexity.
Creativity in this context is about creative leadership — i.e., the ability to shed long-held beliefs and come up with original and at times radical concepts and execution. And this requires bold, breakthrough thinking. We believe, however, that this isn’t about having a lone creative leader at the top but rather about creating a “field” of creative leadership, by igniting the collective creativity of the organization from the bottom up. In essence, creative leaders excel at creating creative leaders.

The report identifies a group of standout organizations which delivered solid business results even during the recent downturn. Their revenue growth was six times higher than the rest of the sample and they plan to get 20% of revenues from new sources in the near future.

McKinsey: How to test your decision-making instincts

Four tests McKinsey authors Andrew Campbell and Jo Whitehead ask managers and leaders to do before engaging in an instinct-based decision making process. Doing a Familiarity, Feedback, Measured-Emotion and Independence tests do trigger events that would allow the human mind to be more conscious! The article does not specify what types of instinct based decisions should be scrutinized by such tests, They’ve been offered as a general framework to follow. Decisions that are to be taken promptly are the high risk ones that if a leader does not train or fine tune his guts-decision making, then, consequences will be unexpected as well miscalculated.

Leaders should try Campbel and Whitehead tests and monitor the quality of their decisions over time. I urge you to read the full article at McKinsey Quarterly site here.

Peter Drucker: Culture eats strategy for breakfast

Many of today’s manager underestimate the essence and impact of their organizational cultures. The elements that control the work places, the values, the ethics, and the untold rules are sometimes ignored, and business strategies, alone, are assumed to do the job. Drucker’s statement “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is wholeheartedly presenting the pain people faces in their workplaces. Growth plans and articulated business tactics can not be sustainable without a framework of cultural values and rules. Fix the culture first then define a strategy. If you operate within a culture of deception, ignorance and lack of accountability, no matter how robust or concrete business plan you develop, it will fail its first encounter internally before externally with market. In HBR management tip, the author rightly noted that leaders should “give employees a reason to care about your customers, their colleagues, and about how to do business right in a world that rewards cutting corners and compromising values. During a turnaround, don’t focus exclusively on distinguishing yourself from the competition; find what brings you together as a company. It may be values, a vision, or a set of shared emotions. Articulate this sense of unity well and the business will follow.”

Booz&Company: Growth through Focus: A Blueprint for Driving Profitable Expansion

This is an insightful piece of work by Sanjay Khosla and Mohanbir Sawhney, published recently at Strategy+Business. Though people could argue that nothing new in this proposition, and companies did actually narrowed their expansions plans, and focused more on their current offerings and inititated massive gigantic cost-cutting and optimization engagements, nonetheless, Khosla and Sawhney aims, as far I understood, to strategize the whole process and practice. Growth by focus should deliberately replace the growth by more in good times as well and not bad times. It should the way of doing and running the businesses onwards.

What Develops In Leader Development?

“The goal of leadership initiatives is to improve the ability of individuals and organizations to set direction, gain commitment and create alignment. But what specifically can be developed in people that will contribute to their effectiveness as leaders?

The new edition of The Center for Creative Leadership Handbook of Leadership Development addresses this issue, describing a range of capabilities associated with self-management, leading others and leading the organization. They include:

Self-Awareness. A key aspect of understanding oneself is having awareness of what one does well and not so well; what one is comfortable with and uncomfortable with; which situations bring out one’s personal best and which are difficult to handle.
Ability to Learn. This includes recognizing when new behaviors, skills, or attitudes are called for; accepting responsibility for one’s own development; and engaging in activities that provide the opportunity to learn or test new perspectives and behaviors.
Ability to Build and Maintain Relationships. The foundation of this ability is the capacity to respect people from varying backgrounds and to understand and value the diverse perspectives that they bring.
Ability to Build Effective Work Groups. People in leadership roles need not only to develop their own relationships with others, but also to facilitate the development of positive relationships among others who work together.
Ability to Develop Others. This includes the ability to help others diagnose their development needs, provide appropriate feedback and other learning opportunities, coach and encourage changes in their behavior and recognize and reward improvements.
Ability to Think and Act Strategically. People who can think and act strategically have a clear sense of the desirable collective future. They make decisions, set priorities and support initiatives that will bring the current reality more in line with the desired future.
Ability to Initiate and Implement Change. This includes establishing the need for change, influencing others to participate in the change, and institutionalizing the new ways of working.”