Leadership In Business Today
Small business owners today have a tall order to fill. They must be extremely effective at managing change in a vastly different business environment, while also being focused on improving operations, sales, marketing, personnel and profits.
Strategy and Planning
Planning should be considered a clear path for action and change. The plan should be the basis for introducing controlled change into a business so it can adapt to changing times. By anticipating shifting demands, the plan serves the purpose of allowing the business to control its own direction, rather than waiting until outside forces demand or inflict change. In addition, the plan allows for consistent monitoring of success and tracking progress toward goals.
But, if we look at strategy and planning as a roadmap for change, we also need to consider that any organization has built-in inertia or the tendency to keep on doing what it has done in the past. On its own, the strategic planning process, as traditionally undertaken, is insufficient to overcome this inertia. Accountability needs to be a key factor for the plan and proposed changes to get successfully implemented.
Leadership - The Key to Success
Leadership means a number of things with respect to strategy and planning:
Strong Leadership - Leaders of small and mid-size companies must motivate their staff to buy into the values, mission, and goals of the company by making them active contributors. Prior to the planning process, leaders must emphasize that THIS TIME, things will be different and change is imminent - both positive and required change.
Roadmap to Success - The critical role of leadership occurs after the plan has been completed. Leaders must treat the planning results as the business roadmap that guides behavior and decision making. After all, nobody is going to take a plan seriously if the CEO, President or business owner ignores it or never refers to it again.
Commitment - Once the strategic plan has been completed, the CEO or leader of the business should present and discuss the plan with all managers and stress specific goals, execution and deadlines.
- When important decisions are required, explain how the strategic plan is used, or is to be used to make decisions. As new ideas are presented and you need to communicate a decision, explain your decision in light of the mission, values and goals expressed in the plan to reinforce your focused strategy.
Accountability - When doing performance reviews with staff, ask the individual to explain how his or her actions are consistent with the key aspects of the strategy and goals. Only when you demonstrate strong leadership by holding yourself, as well as, your employees accountability will you achieve your goals and grow your business.
- A critical role of leadership is to create more leaders. One goal that CEOs and business owners as leaders can set for themselves is to encourage key employees to take on some of the leadership roles outlined above. This can be particularly effective in decision making and growing your business to the next level. Motivate key employees in your company by giving them increased responsibility, and encouraging this kind of leadership behavior.
Action - Leadership provides the primary link between planning and taking action. You must overcome inertia, the tendency to keep things the same, by putting plans into action and holding your team, and yourself accountable.
When strategy and planning occurs without leadership, cynicism increases when your staff sees that the plan is being ignored, or even violated. The outcome of this is that business owners, Presidents and CEOs suffer a loss of credibility.
CEO Advisor, Inc. can help you gain the leadership skills to grow your business to the next level. Contact Mark Hartsell, MBA, CEO of CEO Advisor, Inc. to discuss your strategy needs and gain a free initial consultation at (949) 759-8676 in CA, or (301) 580-8071 in the DC Metro area, or by email at MHartsell@CEOAdvisor.com