We always need leadership to help us through the many hard patches, and on to ultimate success.
It is hard to say what is the main thing that leads to success, and one supposes that the most essential element varies by situation. Some important elements are…
* passion for the vision
* helping others overcome their roadblocks
* assuring that most of the team is winning and that few things lead to tradeoffs where one person is hurt
We also mention the creation of Ba (Japanese word), which represents that context or place in which new knowledge is created. Only by creating knowledge can the seeming constraints be transcended, and success becomes possible.
Many people possess one or more of these skills. It is not having the skill or skills, it is bringing it all to fruition so that the Team reaches the goal.
Still, there remains that element of magic, where somehow some make it up the river and others do not. Here’s to those magic ones, who make it up the river more often than not.
To me, the essence of leadership boils down to two things.
1. Knowing what needs to be done.
The ability to identify and articulate what needs to be done is enormously useful.
In most business situations, it means understanding the customer. It means focus on a few relatively important things. It means explaining this to other people in a persuasive way.
There are, of course, a whole bunch of skills related to understanding the customer. Understanding the customer is so very difficult, perhaps partially because it is an act of selection and editing (not everything that a customer might want, but those few essential things). Knowing what needs to be done can, for example, be claimed to be partially a financial understanding (ROI and NPV), but I think not mainly in most cases.
A listing of skills is not essential. Decomposing “what a leader does” into parts misleads as much as it helps. It is how the cake is put together and how it bakes as much as any list of ingredients. And finally it is in the eating only that its true meaning is fulfilled.
Once one has a vision, it is necessary to communicate this to others. So that they are inspired and encouraged. So that they act. Knowing is not enough; acting in such a way that the Team gets started is part of setting the initial direction. Imagine Moses setting off.
2. Getting us there
This is discussed in the next blg post.