The Special Sauce for Success for LeadersNovember 26, 2012 | By Wayne O'Neill
In working with leaders, we have discovered that many organizations have been frustrated that they cannot solve their problems by just handing leaders a new directive, a new book, or sending them to a new one-day management program at the Hilton. The truth is that each organization is uniquely complex, therefore no one has a “Cure-All” or special sauce that will solve all your problems. Even so, here are some tips from a recent issue of Fast Company magazine entitled “How to Lead in a Time of Chaos” by Roberta Mauson on how great leadership is created and a special sauce ingredient from Richard Branson, founder and chairman of Virgin Group of more than 400 companies and the fourth richest citizen of the United Kingdom, according to Forbes 2011 list of billionaires.
1. Really get to know your people. Taking time to get to know your people helps you build on their strengths. Ask your employees to describe their dreams and aspirations. Listen to what they say. Then come up with a plan to help them achieve what is important to them. Great leaders think about what they can do to support those who work for them. The return on that investment is loyal employees who will be more willing to listen and support what the leadership wants later.
2. Spend the money required to get the results you hope to achieve. To attract and retain top talent, executives have to spend money to boost the performance of their people and enlist the help of outside experts to be at the top of their game. Let outside experts do for you what they do best. If you heard unusual sounds coming from under the hood of your car, you would not ask the car dealer for a solution. You would ask the mechanic to diagnose the problem and give you options to resolve the issues. One advantage of utilizing outside advisors is that they can see more clearly than those who are immersed in the organization. Their “cold blooded” perspective is helpful because they have no vested interest. Therefore, they can offer honest feedback for the good of the organization. The alternative, says Roberta Mauson, is to “spend nothing and use this money on returning products to unhappy customers or hiring new people to replace the ones who keep leaving.”
3. Leverage your technology and social media According to Richard Branson, “Anyone who thinks new technology isn’t going to keep changing the world has got their head in the sand.” He goes on to say, “When you get to the very top of companies, there is a surprising lethargy about using the online tools already available: social media. Embracing social media isn’t just a bit of fun, it is a vital way to communicate, keep your ear to the ground and improve your business. So, why are only 16% of CEOs currently participating in social media? IBM’s 2012 Global CEO Study found that most CEOs are clearly not taking social media seriously. Only one of more than 1,700 respondents had their own blog! Some are on LinkedIn, fewer on Twitter and even less on Facebook, Google+ and elsewhere on the web. The study indicated that within five years social media will be the number two way to engage with customers (after face-to-face personal interaction). That’s a step in the right direction, but why wait five years? The internet will have changed all over again by then, and business is in danger of being left behind.”
From the top to the bottom of your organization, evaluate your potential in leveraging technology and social media to grow your business.
The secret sauce for creating great leaders is a customized combination of personal leadership that engages the best in your employees, outside expertise that offers “fresh eyes” and leveraging technology and social networks to engage everyone within your business to what is happening elsewhere with your business and in our global world.
“Why aren’t more business leaders online?” by Richard Branson, Linkedin Thought Leaders, October 22, 2012, http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20121019130632-204068115-why-aren-t-more-business-leaders-online?goback=.ptf_204068115%2C11932467%2C184479969_*1_*1&trk=who_to_follow-b
–Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is the founder and chairman of Virgin Group of more than 400 companies and the fourth richest citizen of the United Kingdom, according to Forbes 2011 list of billionaires.
“There Is No Magic Pill For Great Leadership” by Roberta Matuson, Fast Company magazine, October 18, 2012 issue, http://www.fastcompany.com/3002248/there-no-magic-pill-great-leadership
–Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the president of Matuson Consulting and author of the forthcoming book The Magnetic Workplace (Nicholas Brealey, 2013) and Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around, a Washington Post Top-5 Leadership pick.