James, a successful CEO, worries. He worries about capital, growth, productivity, profitability and the future of his company in a fast changing environment. Technology allows for dramatic shifts in the market, making successful products irrelevant almost instantly, and so James worries about this happening and how to be the innovative company staying ahead of the competition. He worries about his leadership team and talent leaving, about their ability to stay current and about finding new people as the need arises. Unsurprisingly, although he is unlikely to admit it, James is overwhelmed. His personal life suffers. He is stressed and this takes a toll on his health, his weight and his motivation.
In today’s fast changing business landscape many executives leading their businesses forwards are in this situation. Many believe that the way to stay ahead is to be agile and react to the market, moving quickly to stay ahead of the game, and there is some value in this. But when we look closely at companies that continually stay ahead, Apple, Toyota, IKEA, to name but a few, yes they do respond to a changing environment but more importantly they were coherent about their changes, sticking closely to their vision and being consistent and measured about the changes they made.
Successful companies manage to stay successful by building over the long term. They have developed a positive corporate culture, where leaders are developed, retained and are committed to the company and its values. There is a clear vision towards which everyone is working and this allows goals to be adapted as the landscape shifts without the loss of vision. It allows uncertainty to exist rather than cause stress, as there is confidence that whatever happens the organization can rise to the challenge. Developing the company over the long term allows for agility and resilience to be incorporated into every facet of the business and enhances every investment and decision that is made.
Executives with confidence in the functioning of the organization are freer to manage their own lives and find balance and this in turn enables them to be better leaders. Because to lead well we must be our optimum selves, inspiring others and driving change.
The development of leaders must therefore focus on who leaders are, rather than what they do. Replacing outdated leadership training programs, attended and forgotten, with long term coaching and development of the individual or team. Greater self-knowledge and growth leads inexorably to greater confidence, increased adaptability, flexibility and innovation, all of which are required to lead an organization into the future in a sustainable way.
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Dr Kate Price is an Executive Coach and Business Consultant with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. She has 20 years’ experience working with individuals, groups and organizations enabling them to overcome difficulties and develop skills in life and leadership. Contact her at [email protected].
Originally published at drkateprice.com on June 2, 2016.
Originally published at medium.com