Monday, July 27, 2009

Job Hunting Leaders...

We know that we are still in recession; and yet even if we're not in
recession, there could still be a few displaced personnel including
"leaders." Does this then mean that these people are not good

See, first, not because one is a leader, he is employed... for many
leaders could be unemployed too. But that does not mean they are
no good. Most of the leaders who are employed are just fortunate
enough to be with a strong organization. They are where they are,
not necessarily because they are better than the others, but because
they were just at the right place at the right time.

Do we hear someone say, "What about the education factor?"

Well, yes, a good education certainly helps. It's good training. This
is in fact the basis of traditional recruiters on up and coming leaders.
Not really bad. But take note that not because one does not come
from Harvard, it means that he's a lesser mortal. For haven't you
thought of the money factor? Or even luck?

Like, if General Gott had not been killed in a plane crash, for instance,
Montgomery would not have taken over the Eighth Army. You would
be foolish if you didn't recognize the hand of luck. It's an uncomfortable
factor to live with, but it is undeniably there in every sphere of life.

If you are going to be effective as a Leader, however, you need to
adopt a positive policy towards luck. The worse strategy you can adopt
is to rely upon luck, except in extreme circumstances where there is
literally nothing else you can do.

Just remember, everything can be learnt; but progress is mainly
dependent on the person concerned, on how well he handles

What about the experience factor?

Ah, experience again.
Ask yourself then, "How could one get experience if he was not
given that opportunity? How could one prove his worth if he was
not given the chance?" Hence, understand that experience is a
matter of exposure.

And more so...
"Experience is as to intensity and not duration." - Thomas Hardy

Nonetheless, how you will react in a very senior Leadership position
will not be know until you get there. You may drag it down to your
level of incompetence, or you may grow into the job. How you actually
perform in that position will largely depend upon your self-development.

Thus, as a job hunting Leader, you should be responsible and
proactive in your Leadership development programme.
For Leadership can not really be taught, it can only be learnt. If you
work hard at it... given a modicum of potential... you will improve.
Indeed, someone of modest natural ability who works hard at the task,
team and individual circles will eventually outstrip a person of high
natural ability who is lazy and instinctive about it, for the latter's faults
will grow bigger like weeds over the years. He will not be able to
transfer his learnings from one situation to another because he has
never understood why he was successful in terms of principles.
It is sad to see a natural leader go bad, but it has happened more
than once.

Let your job hunting then be seasoned with good preparation, in turn,
luck will very soon smile at you.

"Work hard at Leadership today, and tomorrow will take care of itself."

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Essence... The Sequel.

In last weekend’s article, we delved into the essence of Leadership…
and two of the factors, as we know, were vision and trust. Certainly,
without “vision”, what would be the point of a worthy undertaking?
It’s like having a car but you do not know where to go, no destination.
And of course, “trust” is like gasoline, even if you know where to go
but if there is no petrol… you can not proceed.

We then concluded the article with a teaser for this week’s blog…
the “action” factor in the essentials.

COOPERATION. This is what we get when our vision is shared and
trust is compensated. It is the beginning of all organized effort. It is
the insurance to inevitable success.

“We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different

people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes,
different dreams.” - Jimmy Carter

But how do we actually get cooperation?

Simple yet a bit tough specially for some in power. First, we have to
be polite… with everyone. Mind you, not because you are at the top…
that does not mean that you could roll over others. Respect begets
respect. Hence, use good manners all the time. Never pull rank.
Consider one’s culture, beliefs and traditions. Always think of how
others could “feel” before you say or do something. Realize that you
are dealing with human beings not robots. Don’t waste people’s time
but be considerate. Yes, practice saying “please” and “thank you”
whenever possible… sincerely.

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing
to the bones.” - Proverbs 16:23-24

Understand that support can be gained if you make allies not enemies.
Thus, with the support of your allies, you get the help you need to get
your goals or job done… even if someone deliberately or

unintentionally acts to scuttle you.


The creation of more wealth each year; the increase in our national
production; the ability to do just a little better than our competitors
overseas, all these will benefit the organization as a whole.

But to achieve, this demands a wholesale change of attitude in order
to break down barriers which prevent companies from working as a
united, productive team.

However, in all these, only Top management can take the decisions
that will put their organizations on such a path... because effective
change can only come from the very top. Personal Leadership from
the top can create a receptive environment in which teamwork can
truly flourish right down the line. The old barriers can then at least be
replaced with genuine trust… fuelling cooperation towards that vision.

“We must not let the iron curtain be replaced with a veil of

indifference.” - Bill Clinton

“Valuable Cooperation is yours if you think of others and not just yourself.”

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Essence Of Leadership...

In our previous blog, we talked about the bottomline of Leadership;
for this issue, we will discuss about the “essence” of Leadership.
But what’s the difference between “bottomline” and “essence”
anyway? Is the former more important than the latter or
the other way around?

First, while bottomline speaks of output, essence is about the
crucial elements in Leadership for this matter. What then are these
“crucial” elements? How do we acquire them?

VISION. To get the attention of others, specially the supporters
you wish for, a Leader needs to have an exciting and mutually
beneficial vision.

Let’s take a look at this angle…

Leaders for good.
If effective work is to be done then there will need to be leadership,
otherwise people will thrash around in a fog. Leadership involves,
for me, helping the organization to discover, express its own purposes
and values which enable those involved with the organization to
commit themselves to the organization sufficiently that they will use
their intelligence and creativity in its support. That probably means
that the central purpose of the organization will need to be expressed
and lived in terms that people can identify with and with underlying
values that they can be proud of. Maybe “to serve the public by
producing good value x’s and doing so in such a way that all
employees are able to use and develop their talents” would be more
likely to inspire people than “to make more profit than last year”?
Leadership like this will need to be shown at all levels.
(Nicholas Heap)

See, this vision should be of helpful service which could easily be
shared and pushed to get the ball rolling. Yet, although we can not
control everything, visions do not really change… but it’s your plans
that need to be flexible enough to absorb, adjust to and predict
changes. Hence, it would certainly be good to have contingency
plans in firing up objectives.

TRUST. Once you have that “vision” in line, you now have to act
swiftly and positively to lay the foundation of trust.

Take note that trust can only be built if we have genuine concern for
others; if we have respect; if we walk the talk; if we have integrity.

On Integrity.
Harris: “What single quality makes an industrial leader?”
Woodroofe: “No single quality, but an indispensable one is integrity.
No doubt about it. Assuming certain qualities like efficiency,
imagination, shrewdness, doggedness and so on, the all-essential
one is integrity.”
Harris: “What do you mean by integrity in this context?”
Woodroofe: “Most decisions in business are based on uncertainties
because you don’t have all the information you would theoretically
like to have, but having what you have, you must use your judgment
and decide. But, and this is what I mean by the overriding importance
of integrity, the decision must be made within the framework of the
responsibilities the businessman carries. He has responsibilities to
the shareholders, the employees, the consumers, even the
government of the day. He has to balance these responsibilities
thoroughly, justly and without bias. You could, for instance, make a
decision which was to the benefit of your shareholders but to the
detriment of the community as a whole. Not doing that, and knowing
why you are not going to do it, and what not doing it is going to cost
you, is what I mean by integrity.”
(Kenneth Harris of The Obeserver in an interview with
Sir Ernest Woodroofe, Unilever Chairman, 1970)

Now that we are in the digital age and having most all the necessary
information… does it mean that “integrity” is no longer significant?
Huh, think again. Can you imagine engaging with an entity without
integrity? What do you think would happen? You know the answer.

Coming up on the next blog... the action word of the essentials.

Remember... “Leadership is a continuing process… and Key to your
Development depends on your ability to learn from others.”

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Bottomline Of Leadership...

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “bottomline”?
Many could think of it as the ultimate thing. Well, it makes sense;
however, if we take a closer look, bottomline signifies something
that has gone through pretty complex procedures. There could be
many branches or processes involved to come up with an output.

Leadership. Bottomline.

Hmm… Is Leadership then that complicated? Well, to many,
it could be; and to some, even scary. Why?

Consider this…

Michael, aged 36 years, had a brilliant career as a “back room boy”
in the accounts department of a British pharmaceutical company.
He had passed all the examinations and specialized in tax matters,
winning himself a solid reputation. He had been with the same firm
for twelve years. On “situational” grounds, he should have been the
ideal man to become the leader of his department when the job fell
vacant. When that promotion came his way, however, it took him by
surprise. He was not prepared for leadership. The company was in
recession; morale in the department was low. He soon found himself
with all sorts of problems, both about the department’s effectiveness
and about people, where his expertise in tax law was of no help.
He floundered for a while and then in desperation left the company
to set up business on his own as a tax collector.

What do we see here?

Looking deeper within, Leadership is more than just experience;
for again, things can be learned… it’s just a matter of exposure,
of opportunity. See then, Leadership is really all about character
that is strength and soundness.

Yet, many are still awed when they hear the word “leadership”;
many are still worried to put people in leadership spots. Why?
Because these “many” are not True Leaders. Because these
“many” are just traditional recruiters. Realize now that we sorely
need a paradigm shift if we truly want to move forward with
renewed confidence.

The bottomline then is…

For you as a Leader, it’s decision-making skills. This is having
that courage to make decisions. Sound and timely decisions that is.
The courage to cross the bridge. The courage to take responsibility.

And this responsibility extends to every party involved in the business…
from owners to suppliers to employees to customers among others.

For the shareholder, a leader’s responsibility is primarily meeting
. This would also include harnessing the company’s
potential for growth.

For the suppliers, it's geared on his coordinating skills. After all,

without the timely availability of raw materials, business would be

For the subordinates, it's mainly about people skills, particularly

one’s ability to build enthusiasm, to employ empathy, and to subtly
use humor when tension arises.

For the customers, responsibility is focused on understanding
consumer behaviour
, both short-term and long-term. On knowing

their needs. On satisfying their curiosity.

Leadership may have its pressures but tell you, it’s not really that

tough… you just have to constantly be aware of time, environment,
and people.

“Chance favors the prepared mind.” - Louis Pasteur

Make your mark. You can do it.

“With great power comes great responsibility.”