What is our “why” for the Six Pillars? Why have the Six Pillars Essential For Leading Your Enterprise been chosen?
1. Leading Oneself - like emotional intelligence, leading oneself is catalytic for our other skills and talents to be valued. Emotional intelligence, asking more and better questions, not talking behind people’s backs, not getting angry, having the people we lead in our heart, not allowing our ego to get ahead of our increased responsibilities and effective power and more, are key so that we can be an effective leader.
2. Driving the Value Proposition of Our Enterprise – most experts believe that every industry will encounter new disruptive business models. Old business models are becoming obsolete and great new ones are being born every day. If we are proactive at driving our own value proposition and leaning in to new and better ways to serve our clients, our business model will be more competitive against that new and innovative disruptive competitor that will eventually present itself. This fearce competitor equiped with a creative and unique business model may disrupt the industry but it will be less disruptive to your enterprise. As an example, study how Walmart is evolving and the respect it is giving to the most formidable retail disruptor Amazon.
3. People and Leadership Development – leadership is the area with which humans struggle the most. It is a difficult art yet it can have such a positive effect on so many if we can embrace the life-long journey of becoming a more and more effective leader of others. How do we better serve our team members? How do we bring the best out in others? How do we create an open, trusting, non-defensive and non-political environment? How do we help on-board talented individuals and prepare them in the first nine weeks for a great career for the nine years to follow? How do we continuously give more meaning to the work every team member performs? Do we invest 30 minutes weekly one-on-one / structured agenda with every direct report? How do we make sure we are communicating with clarity to our organization where we are going, how we are going to get there, what is expected of each team member and how much we appreciate the great work our team performs? “Ambiguity breads mediocrity; clarity breads excellence,” Steven Covey taught to us by Donnie Smith.
4. Corporate Finance – to grow, we must have the right understanding and drive our organization financially toward healthy relationships (often defined as a set of ratios)? If we are not growing, in many ways it means we are going backwards. If the quality of our services or products are unable to help us grow, it often means that our competitors are getting stronger while we are relatively getting weaker. To attract the best people to help us drive our organization forward, we need growth which is the key indicator that these “A Players” will have the opportunity to have meaningful and dynamic career paths.
Financially, to grow, we will need the financial support of third parties, such as banks or investors. Part of our responsibility to lead others and be responsible to others is to understand what it takes and (as an example) at what levels as a percent of revenues must profits or surplus must be generated so that our organization remains in financial balance and creditors and investors can fund the new capital required to support the future growth that is matched with the internally generated capital (profits). Nothing is more dangerous than a go-go leader who has not invested the time to understand key financial relationships and the discipline for how to apply sound corporate finance principles. Yes, we may have an area that is financially weak from time to time and the key is to clearly understand this weakness and drive the organization in a way that it is strengthened so that is does not effect other areas and be disruptive to the organization as a whole.
5. Strategic thinking and planning – one can learn from seasoned market participants at Harvard i Lab presentations (YouTube) relating to business models to learn that strategically driving an enterprise toward the optimal business model can create an enterprise value that will turn out to be five fold more valuable compared to those who do not get there. This requires strategic thinking as well as consistent iterations to strengthen the enterprise and its strategic direction. What is the most impactful need that we can fulfill that customers will greatly appreciate (and pay for)? Every industry is large; what is the part of that market that is best for us to pursue and withwhom to do business? What are the three most important defining attributes of our best customers / prospects? Which ones have the ability to grow? Which ones are too risky? How do we serve our target market in ways that deliver the most value yet requires the least capital outlays? How will this be executed? What are the three to five goals of our organization and what is the specific roll of every co-worker in order to achieve those goals? How often are these goals visited? These are examples of “strategic thinking” and and planning questions and processes.
6. Culture – how do we define what is most important to us in the way we execute our business? What are the four to eight guidelines or values that we can define that we believe in so strongly we can put them in writing and agree that everyone can and should apply them as we execute our business every day. What can we stand for that is compelling and value added that will differentiate us from our competitors and make our organization more compelling for whom to come to work and with whom to do business? These values and the way we execute will be used by every co-worker to guide us in how we serve our customers, our co-workers, our suppliers and our investors. If we don’t lead our team to define what is most important in how we will execute our business activities and for what we stand, a culture or set of cultures will come forth and it or they will be inconsistent with how we prefer or expect how our activities will be executed.
So this is our “why” for choosing these Six Pillars Essential for Leading Your Enterprise. Yet, please know, we do not feel we are experts in any one of them. We are students of them. We are not to a point where we can execute each one of them at a high level. We are working toward this. What we are saying is, together, we can consider the importance of each pillar and should we agree they are, we can process how to better execute around them and as we improve how we execute around them, we believe that our results will always get better and our performance will have been elevated.
What are your thoughts? How would you define your pillars essential for leading your enterprise?
It isn’t as important that we agree on how to define each pillar; it is important that you consider for yourself how to define your pillars and to consistently work to improve on how you are executing around each of them.