Leaders set direction, align resources, and motivate action as suggested by the panels in Figure 1. Another way to put it is that a leader develops, holds, nurtures, communicates, and drives to achieve a vision.
As in Figure 2, it helps to think of the leader holding a map, like Harry Potter’s Marauder’s map that is always changing, making sense of it, and navigating the course with those led looking on over the shoulders. The best leaders constantly check with their top team to confirm that they are headed toward the same goals, in the same way, and for the same reasons.
As the leader, it is up to you to do something, but you avoid confronting the offender perhaps because you are averse to conflict or perhaps s/he is a longtime friend, co-founder, or even a family member. Instead, you hope things will work themselves out, but they never do; things just get worse.
Do you give up, let the organization wallow forever, or act? Such a dilemma!
Compusearch (now Unison) was a visionary company with visionary goals. But, as often happens with visionary companies, focus on a long-term strategy to revolutionize a market can mean that near-term execution and operationalization can suffer, creating barriers to growth.
From its founding in 1983, the company used state-of-the-art software design and development to provide solutions that streamlined and automated key steps in government procurement, purchasing, and contract management.
In 2005, the company arrived at a strategic decision point. The company’s team of owner-operators decided to sell the company and retire. The new owner, private equity firm The Carlyle Group (Carlyle), saw immense potential in the company and its pedigree of quality innovation.
But Carlyle also saw that the change in ownership was an ideal time to assess how the organization operated and to upgrade to more effective strategy execution and operations maturity. Maturing operations turned out to be essential to achieving the goal to double revenue and increase margins to realize a 4X return on invested capital within five years.
Every organization has room to improve. Most organization leaders know improvement is needed as well as how specifically they would like to evolve but do not have the time or energy to bring their clear ideas to fruition because they are short on leadership capacity.
There is almost always a great deal of untapped capacity right under their noses embodied in those in their organization who are itching for a way to make a difference and who are ready to step up and lead the way to making things better.