Blog of Strategic,General and Financial Management (English/Spanish)

Strategycorner is now expanding its content to include posts about General Management, Financial Management, Finance Transformation, Marketing and HR Management. Posts will be published in English or Spanish.

At the end of the blog there are different charts about Strategic Management in Spanish. In the archive area you could find a lot of posts about strategy and its execution in English/Spanish.

Jesús Peral
Executive MBA IE Business School, Madrid,Spain

Master in Strategic Management
IDE-CESEM Business School, Madrid, Spain

Find at the end of blog all charts related to Strategic Management topics commented in the posts

Mapa Estratégico Genérico/Strategy Map

Mapa Estratégico Genérico/Strategy Map
Mapa Estratégico Completo

Modelo de Dirección Estratégica/Strategic Management Model

Modelo de Dirección Estratégica/Strategic Management Model
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jueves, 4 de mayo de 2017

What do we need a leader for ?

In this post I would like to comment about leaders and leadership sharing my experience in one of the companies I have worked for based on the analysis of what happened and how the local CEO faced the situation.

In the year 2001 my company was involved in the launch of a new product. The worldwide marketing plan required a huge investment in trade and consumer marketing. The Senior Management team had great expectations in terms of volumes and profits. The competitive landscape was very difficult. All the teams were aligned to achieve a common goal. The finance department was ready to support sales and marketing efforts by managing credit limits, inventory levels and working capital investment.

The sales and distribution plans were very aggressive in terms of placement reaching new channels never used before. Financial projections were created assuming different scenarios but in all of them the expected results showed good margins and profitability.

3 months after the launch the results were really disappointed. The sales graphs did not show the expected sales levels with a dramatic downturn in different countries and also on a by customer basis. The local CEO and the international management team were really concerned.

The above situation could be familiar for a lot of the readers of this post. The main difference probably derives from the reaction and behaviour of the local CEO to cope with this situation.

The local CEO reacted very quickly to the downturn in sales. His reaction not only was a reaction of responsibility but also very sensible. Instead of adopting a defensive attitude, he accepted the reality.

One of the main elements of his success was his capacity to communicate with the marketing team as they felt it was their failure. An executive of lower level could have blamed and get away from the problem. But he understood their reaction and communicated with them very openly.

So what is the key message from this? It is fundamental to integrate all departments in a team effort to get the best possible result. The local CEO was able to assume the responsibility and take advantage of the potential errors. He faced the facts as they were using his emotional intelligence. He was very talented to get the best out of his team, helping them to develop and improve. His sincere interest in the others led to create a real sense of loyalty. He fostered a sense of sincerity encouraging all the employees to be open and honest with him. You could discuss with him and tell him you were not in agreement. He did not like cowards. He was especially sensible in assigning the right member of his team to the particular projects. The learning here is, the leader, ultimately, has the responsibility about what to delegate and to whom because if you choose the right person, at the end of the day, it is likely you will succeed. This also shows us the importance of the management of emotions in the leadership to be closer to the success when taking decisions. The emotional intelligence helped the local CEO to find the solution to the failure.

So what he did? Firstly, he assumed the error as his thing and did not blame his team but he considered them as part of the solution. He transformed the emotions into a source of information. The decisions need to incorporate emotions to be real. The good decisions take into consideration the emotions as a sign of respect for the people. The affective results end very close to the effective result. I think, nowadays, effectiveness depends more and more on the affection.

The emotions do not happen by chance, they follow a logical order that activates and deactivate them. They exist, we just need to find and organize them when needed. Obviously this requires some kind of effort. The idea here is to identify the emotions first, then understand them and finally channel them to the action.

In my opinion the leader of the 21st Century is no longer isolated in concrete areas as now he/she has to intervene in all the processes and is the cornerstone of the example of attitude, as he/she decides and acts, creates values and expectations. It is really the reflection of the change in the organizations.

The effort of the leader consists of understanding how to coordinate the company value in two directions: value creation for the shareholder and added value to the organization through strong policies of internal and external quality able to create quality of life. The increase of productivity is linked to the innovation in the ways of managing and leading the organization. New ways associated to the talent, involved in the creativity, understanding technology as a way for progress and continuous improvement. This task to link with the future has to be managed, from inside, by the leader with the expectation to overcome critical situations.

Lead the organization in the 21st Century means to manage successfully the competitiveness, trust, quality, culture, knowledge, behaviour, compromise and change.

The importance of the leader lies in the security of his/her behaviours. The 21st Century requires leaders emotionally stable. The leader needs to create the culture of the team, the culture of the organization, without overshadowing the capacity of each person in the common effort.

It is necessary to foster the direct leadership that impact in the knowledge of each member supporting the leader. This leadership requires compromise with the team, led and managed by the leader so he can inspire, motivate, listen, demand and analyse the decisions in depth, encourage the achievement of goals and cooperate in the development of his/her teams. For all of these it is required a great capacity of communication and adaptation.

The competitive advantage of the emotional leadership is the individualised treatment of the talents and the global knowledge of the activity. You cannot retain a talent if you don’t know the determinants and circumstances around the work. Only this way you can recognise the effort and the employee can be aware of it.

The emotional leader follows his/her people. He does not expect people follow him/her. He/she engages them giving example of coherence. Join the efforts to achieve a common goal and avoid using “we” and “they”. He ensures every employee feels passion for his/her work and for the company they work for.

You might get several learnings from the above. For example, the team is beyond its members. The responsibility has to be shared by all. We need leaders in all the teams and leaders that can train others leaders, and the most important, to teach then to understand none of us is worth more than the sum of all.


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