A person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected.
A person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected.
I read somewhere that leaders should sharpen tools not blame them. I think this is particularly apt when we consider leadership under the lens of constant learning. The best leaders are the best learners and if we identify a tool that is under-performing or not serving the purpose, we should learn how to get that tool to do the job we want it to do. It might mean repurposing the tool, changing certain aspects or “sharpening” it as mentioned in the opening sentence of this post.
Leaders are sharpeners of tools and are constantly looking to learn new ways of doing things or adapting tools to suit the job to be done.
Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote several years ago about leadership. Rings true today as I study and write about balance and successful leadership in organizations in Latam.
… about forming other leaders.
I have “taken the helm” of a sailboat many times. I don’t remember having to ask for permission. Leadership means forming other leaders and inspiring others to take risks, take action and help to further the shared vision. It’s not about control or power but rather about giving those things to others so that the whole can be larger than the sum of its parts.
“No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings.” Peter Drucker
Entrepreneurship in the Spanish language is most commonly translated as “emprendimiento” coming from the verb “emprender” which means to ignite or start something. For many generations, entrepreneurs in Latin America have started their own businesses for diverse reasons including, as the management thinker Peter Drucker pointed out, a response to a social problem disguised as a business opportunity. A glimpse at the “Rey del Banano” (King of the Banana) rags-to-riches story in Ecuador supports Drucker’s claim; born into poverty, Luis Noboa Naranjo launched the successful Bonita Banana Company after piecing together profits made from sales of newspapers and household items. Noboa later established the Noboa business group; at one time, his business venture was credited for generating 5% of the Ecuador´s Gross Domestic Product.
Nevertheless, an entrepreneurial venture or entrepreneurial economy does not an entrepreneurial society make. It requires something more: not just “igniting” entrepreneurial fires but having the mindset to ensure that the entrepreneurial flame will not die. An entrepreneurial society requires a “growth mindset” – an idea developed over a decade ago by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck to explain achievement and success. Dweck compares and contrasts “fixed mindsets” and “growth mindsets”; she concludes that if we focus on learning and improvement as a consistent goal, environment, and the country we are born in, economic realities, as well as adversity or failure, can become powerful impetuses to ensure we grow and overcome pre-conceived limitations to achieving success.
Harkening to the 2016 Olympics currently underway in Rio de Janeiro, an athlete with a “growth mindset” pushes through in order to grow as an individual, an athlete and a citizen representing a nation. They see their failures as a call to further action and continuous training; in other words as a “not yet” rather than a “not ever.” There are clear parallels in athletic training to Drucker’s own words describing an entrepreneurial society where “innovation and entrepreneurship are normal, steady, and continuous.”
For an entrepreneurial society to prosper, members need growth mindsets to consistently keep the entrepreneurial flame alive and support those willing to push the limits of an “employee” society in order to find solutions to the world’s problems. Peter Drucker saw entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial culture as the lifeblood of society (Innovation and Entrepreneurship: 1985). He heralded a new era that would see a shift from an employee society towards an entrepreneurial society. In Latin America, where I live and work, “emprendedores” are igniting entrepreneurial fires with creativity, innovation and problem solving skills; yet the region – like many other major trading areas in the world – continues to call for a growth mindset from members of society that would lead us through economic and political instability and clear past the “same-old” power dynamics.
Global discussions around “entrepreneurial society” must be inclusive with ideas from developing as well as developed countries, public and private counterparts, local and international companies, thinkers and managers, students and teachers, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, CEOs and investors. If an entrepreneurial society is to flourish, we need a “mindset” of constant learning and growth supported by connections across real and psychological boundaries. In every corner of the globe, adopting a growth mindset together with learnings from larger discussions of entrepreneurship and transformation, will help us move to a society of creators, co-creators and organizations that respond ethically, empathetically and effectively to the societies we serve.
“In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.” – Tina Fey
I have always been inspired by Fashion: art present in our daily lives. As I grow with my consulting practice I have learned that management is an art. In fact, Peter Drucker described management as a liberal art…. liberal because it relates to leadership, wisdom, knowledge and knowing oneself…art because it is practical and applied.
Here is this week’s business inspiration courtesy YSL.
Be inspired! – EMC
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
― Peter F. Drucker
There was so much discussion at the 6th Annual Global Peter Drucker Forum last week that it is difficult to find a place to start. In fact, this could be said also about the theme of this year’s forum: The Great Transformation.
Where do we start in a world that is constantly changing, where markets are in flux and industries can be redefined in a matter of a couple of years? Are companies like Apple, Google, Uber, Zappos, Amazon, the new norm? What about the role of Government and Education?
The answers to these questions cannot be tightly organized into a bullet list or an action plan. The reason being is that leadership in times of transformation is dynamic and there is a need to balance the fact that challenges/competition/disruptions exist while embracing a sense of optimism and belief in what managers (who Drucker called “society’s leadership group”) can help create and deliver.
Who said leadership was easy?
Perhaps one place to start is with Clayton Christensen’s talk. He spoke about growth and the fact that we need to explore new ideas of growth – not the ideas that economists would have us believe or what investment bankers use to measure growth. No, Christensen talked about growth in terms of innovation. At the Forum he described three types of innovations:
These innovations make products or services more affordable or accessible. A computer, for example, has moved from mainframe, PC, to smartphone.
These innovations help margins improve and help make good products even better. They don’t necessarily create growth because they are replacing in nature.
These innovation “do more with less” – sometimes eliminating jobs in order to free up cash flow.
One takeaway from the Forum is that these innovations must be in balance in order for an economy to work well. One action is that free cash should be used in market creating innovations in order to truly create worthwhile value for the organization, stakeholders and communities. This is a challenge because, as Christensen pointed out, our current metrics that we use to base investment decisions (like Internal Rate of Return) will tell us to keep being more efficient.
If we are living in a time of great transformation, efficiencies alone will not help us. Efficiency must be balanced with market creating and sustaining innovations. We need more people to have access to innovations, more people employed to deliver on those innovations and for our economies to grow.
It comes back to the leadership question: how do we build an organization that can change as fast as change itself? How can we embrace change while knowing that we still can do better and that change is continuous? Perhaps it is in balance (economists and nutritionists will tell us this!) or perhaps it is simply shifting our focus towards building a self-renewing organization – one that is always renewing how it connects, engages, and provides purpose to people – rather than building organizations that only deliver value to shareholders.