Happily Ever After...
Updated: Oct 9, 2019
Legend tells of a leadership team from a traditional finance business who embarked on a journey of reinvention and enlightenment. Just by implementing a new system, this business was able to unleash its workforce, revolutionise its capabilities and churned out superb products. This legendary company destroyed the competition by capturing thousands of customers...all by successfully implementing a system. People were happy, the business was thriving and they all live happily ever after...play the big ending song, roll the credits and bonuses...
Oh but wait...
Legends like this never happen! Technology in itself simply isn't the silver bullet to defective strategy, ill-equipped people, knowledge gaps, narrow product development and short-term leadership. This often plays out in frustration for the organisation as reality falls far short of their expectations. And so what was meant to be "happily ever after" becomes "happily NEVER after"...
Over the upcoming weeks, we will unpack the various aspects of how to leverage technology to create a competitive edge for any business. However, before we discuss technology, I’m going to touch on a few critical aspects of leadership that can radically transform any business if its leaders embrace it.
LEADERS ARE CALLED TO REIMAGINE THE FUTURE!!!
Our role as leaders in any organisation is to connect people’s Heads with their Hearts.
Can you remember a time when you had to do something grudgingly versus a time when you felt passionate about something? Personally, if I feel passionate about something and it grabs me deep down inside, I tend to commit a lot more time and energy these initiatives. I think most people are wired this way.
We as leaders are called to be a contagion of positivity and energy. We have to be the change first before we invite our people to change. It is our role to reimagine the future and the possibilities. Creating a strategy five to ten years ahead is critically important to building the future. Then you break it down to its smaller components and start creating the future one step at a time.
One of the things that has always worked for me is to have an initial view of where I would like to take the business and then workshop with my team the validity of my thoughts and the “how we get there” plan. Unleash your team's collective genius by allowing them to play, explore and experiment with ideas and thoughts. This will bear fruit over time.
This ensures that people don’t only buy-in but actually engage the process of redefining the business strategy and execution plan.
Creating a culture that fosters thought and innovation with execution is critically important for the transformation of any business.
PERFECTION VERSUS EXCELLENCE
Leaders and businesses often get caught in the “perfection trap". Perfection is on the face of it doing the right things in the eyes of others and how they appear. Things are always "not right" or "not enough" because they are not perfect and so you constantly in this spiral of trying to make things right. This can be very negative to the psyche. This is quite damaging to any organisation because the focus is always on "what is not there" or "what is missing".
A business idea has to be perfect before it is taken to market, a system implementation must be perfect before it is deployed… what does this result in?
Long, drawn-out projects, massive teams, unnecessary customisation, escalating costs, and by the time products are launched to the market, someone has pipped you to the line. All for the cost of perfection!
It’s easier to rather focus on "Excellence". Excellence is about doing the right things because you understand why you are doing something and what success will look like.
Excellence focuses the mind and the team on what is working now, what are the positives and what can be done to make it better. Receive feedback and improve what you are doing since you can always reach greater and better outcomes through striving for excellence, but NEVER perfection.
Excellence focuses on the process of achievement and not only the outcome as a cold and hard measure of success.
BALANCE VERSUS PRIORITY
This is another misconception. We have always been taught to strive for "balance". Balance is another mystical concept that one supposedly is meant to strive for.
Almost everyone I know has a beautiful New Year resolution...
"go the gym", "spend time with the kids", "play golf", "work smarter, "learn how to cook", "play a musical instrument" …. And so the list goes on.
We have it all planned out on the 1st of January each year and by the third week, life happens. Work gets in the way, kids get sick, you get an injury and it all falls flat. We get stressed out, despondent and even more so because we didn't follow through on our resolution… it happens to the best of us!
Perhaps we need to focus on "Priority". Life happens and that's ok! Perhaps by having a view that during this phase or this week or this month, I will focus on certain things because that’s important.
As a team, we will focus on certain initiatives because these are important for where we are right now. Psychologically this removes the pressure from yourself and your team because you are not constantly striving for balance. There's positive energy that builds up from accomplishing what is important during this phase of life, a project, or a business.
Priority delivers results right now while seeking balance is a constant struggle.
LIVING WITH PRESENCE
For us as leaders to thrive in an exponential world we need to live with presence and that requires authenticity, conviction and care.
Authenticity - “I know who I am and I am real, right now!”
Conviction - “I know why I am here, right now!”
Care - “I care about the outcome and the people involved, right now!”
And living with "Presence" has a contagion effect on our people. People feed of positivity and progress.
It is our role as leaders to figure out how we transcend technology by thinking differently and by reimagining the future. There are no definitive answers, but rather, they key is to ask a few critical questions to potentially trigger change, purpose and action.
For me, these aspects are so important before embarking on a business transformation or reinvention. For change to be sustainable leaders and their people must believe the impossible and embrace it and make it happen!
As leaders of Industry, it is our responsibility to actively shape the future and our contribution needs to be bigger and greater than ourselves.