Tag Archives: Leadership

Early Symptoms of a Potential Corporate Collapse

With the recent demise of several high profile organisations, it is prudent to look at how organisations move from strong healthy thriving ventures on to the slippery slope that leads to collapse.

Some key behaviours that indicate potential management danger at board level include:

  1. Autocratic leadership with minimal consultation.  There are times for autocratic, ‘command and control’ style leadership within civilian organisations.  Such a leadership style can be very useful for crisis management, turnaround situations or when there is a need for realignment. This style, is however, less productive in an enterprise that is in a ‘sustained’ growth or ‘startup’ phase.  The leader needs to lead with a vision and gain input from the senior management team on how best to move forward.  Humility in a senior leader allows them to recognize that they don’t know everything just because they are called  ‘leader’ is really important.  If you are a leader surround yourself with great people, leverage their knowledge, experience and talent and lead the team with insight and compassion.
  2. Lack of ownership or accountability.  Senior management and leaders need to be accountable for their areas of responsibility, their actions, their behaviours and their performance.  Everyone should know who is responsible for a feature or factor in the business and that person must take action to meet the levels of performance expected and agreed.  Being accountable also means that poor performance can be assessed and someone helped in their pursuit of the target rather than no-one acting to resolve the issue.
  3. Unbalanced senior team.  If everyone is thinking the same way then no-one is thinking!  Having your best chums, your praetorian guard around you may feel reassuring but too much similarity in the senior team reduces any creative friction and frank debate, leading to ‘groupthink’ and thereby danger for the business.
  4. A weak financial director.  Cash is king, so someone needs to know the financial position really well and control the costs.  A weak financial person will be bullied, cajoled or ignored by the team, leading to financial danger.
  5. A combined chairman and CEO.  In broad terms, the chairman runs the board of directors and the CEO runs the business.  The CEO is responsible to the board for business performance so having a CEO responsible to himself as chairman of the board leads to a situation where there is no real governance of the business.  These 2 roles must be kept separate.
  6. A lack of management depth.  The senior team holds the business, its assets and its potential in trust for the owners.  To get the best return on this investment requires strong leadership across many disciplines.  A weak management team or one that has limited experience and depth will not be able to get the best performance from the business.  They will also not recognize that there is a need to act when things start to go wrong.  Even if they do act, the lack of depth and experience will limit their managerial options with potentially disastrous consequences.

As business leaders, we have a responsibility to the business owners, the customers and the employees to get the best out of the business and ensure that it endures.

Recognizing the symptoms that can lead to corporate collapse is critical in our stewardship of the company.

Dare to Aspire

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Filed under Business, Improvement, Leadership, Performance

Book Review: The Intangibles of Leadership – The 10 Qualities of Superior Executive Performance

Book Review:

The Intangibles of Leadership – The 10 Qualities of Superior Executive Performance

As an Organisational Psychologist, Davis is routinely exposed to executives at all levels and so is uniquely placed to be able to identify which characteristics and behaviours result a superior leadership performance.

 

 

 

Davis’ conclusion from his years of research and experience is that there are 10 ‘intangibles‘ or characteristics that are the result of an individual’s underlying values and psychological mechanisms.  He suggests that, although intelligence, training and experience are important, it is these 10 characteristics that lead to some leaders, not only succeeding, but thriving.

Overview:

Each ‘intangible’ is discussed in its own chapter, with case studies to illustrate and highlight the importance and relevance of each characteristic.
Each chapter is also structured in a standard format asking and answering some fundamental questions for each ‘intangible’:

  • What is it?
  • How do I know it when I see it?
  • How do I get it?

This style not only makes the information easier to absorb, but it also provides a practical approach that an executive can use to develop each quality themselves.
The 10 ‘intangibles’ are:

  • Wisdom – Experience borne of involvement in business, tempered by reflection and by putting each experience into context.
  • Will – The act of getting things done by purely applying oneself to the task diligently and consistently.
  • Executive Maturity – Having sufficient self control and awareness to control your emotional reaction to an event and the ability to evoke emotions in others for positive influence.
  • Integrity – Having a value system that is moral and consistently and visibly holding yourself to that value system.
  • Social Judgement – Having emotional awareness and intelligence and understanding people as a means to leading them.
  • Presence – A gravitas that allows you to be recognized.
  • Self-Insight – Recognition of what it is that drives you and the impact you have on others is a key way  to improve what you do and how you do it.
  • Self-Efficacy – A self belief that you can make a difference and control events to get things done.
  • Fortitude – The internal strength that you confront challenges with.
  • Fallibility – An understanding that you are going to get things wrong but will still attempt the difficult tasks.

Overall:

For anyone that is well read in the Leadership field, many of these characteristics will be familiar.  What Davis has achieved in this book is to present each characteristic in a clear and easily accessible manner so that an executive or aspiring leader can indentify ‘the differences that make THE difference’.  He has essentially made these ‘intangibles’ tangible and provided an action plan for leaders to develop the characteristics that can improve both their individual career and the performance of the organisations they are leading.

A valuable addition to any library on leadership.

4.5/5

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Filed under Book review, Business, career, Coaching, Improvement, Leadership

New Book Summary: Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done – Larry Bossidy et al

Braincram has a new summary of the book ‘Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done’ by Larry Bossidy et al.

You can find it here.

Highly recommended!

Dare to Aspire

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Filed under Book Summary, Business, Improvement, Leadership, Performance