Leadership strategies that matter


History has seen many CEOs and entrepreneurs making name and fame. They come and go every time but their business thrives and survives through various ordeals. Why? Because, these leaders leave behind a long lasting impression in the form of company culture for others to follow. In other words, enduring business performance depends on leadership strategies rather than the CEOs themselves. Long term performance in any business is due to leadership culture as well as development of its strategies at different levels. Moral of the story? It is not all about CEOs all the time.

A recent research conducted about hundreds of companies across the globe has revealed interesting findings about a business and its correlated people with different talent practices. Many companies were scrutinized and their management practices were connected with the level of maturity in leadership development. This development phase has greatly varied with change in CEOs. One such finding reveals that high performing companies connect business strategy with leadership strategy. Irrespective of the CEO, performance is measured in terms of mid-level and supervisory level. These individuals are coached trained and aligned to perform well regardless of who is sitting in the top position. The second most important finding reveals that high performing individuals develop leaders at every level in an organization.

High performing companies make sure that their grass root level leadership is strong and secure. It is therefore the supervisors, line managers and middle managers that are in action rather than the CEO. But the executives up the ladder make sure that their leadership strategy is pushed down effectively. In fact, the research has shown that successful companies have leaders from the bottom up like an inverse pyramid. The third finding in question is that best companies invest a lot in leadership development. This is not to sound like a marketer for the best companies, it is the fact. Companies are ranked based on their leadership development maturity and those companies invest 30 to 40% more on leadership development than their peers. And these programs are designed to be challenging as well as rewarding.

The next thing to ponder about is how to make the best use of leadership strategies in place. Any company that is in the initial stage of business operation can provide the means to its employees to develop their leadership philosophy. This is also a typical scenario in high performing companies where they hire consultants for leadership courses. The consultant then creates unique research-based leadership model apt for the company. Several companies sell leadership courses, models and tools necessary for leadership development as well. These elements can then be modified to suit the company’s needs and budget. Some companies follow a simple model where leaders are aligned into different quadrants such as executors, innovators, efficiency builders and turnaround specialists. Other companies focus on collaboration, global citizenship, customer values, action orientation and innovation in their models. The CEO that is hired by a company first looks into the leadership culture in the company and decides whether to keep the same model or change it for better. Some CEOs have been successful in creating a new culture within the company. Others simply fit into existing culture.