A top sales executive with a fortune 100 company recently told me “We need our people to be better leaders.” Leadership is one of the buzzwords that I keep hearing during 2012. As companies are continuing to look for new and different ways to be successful in the current economic environment, many are looking towards having better leaders throughout their organizations as a way to differentiate themselves in the market.
Having strong leadership up and down an organization is only an asset if the leaders are empowered with a clear vision for where to take the business. Lots of leaders with no plan of attack are like a bullet with no gun to direct it. So, before you try to ‘empower your leaders’ or ‘develop leaders at every level’ be sure that you have asked yourself:
- Where are we today?
- Where do we want to be in 6 months/1 year/2 years?
- What is required to get there?
- Can all of our managers and leaders articulate the same answer for the first 3 questions?
If you can’t answer these questions, having better leadership will not have the desired ‘lift’ because you will have stronger leaders running in different directions. Ultimately, this will lead to your organization looking like the guy below. The only way to recognize improved performance through leadership initiatives is to ensure that the leaders are all pulling in the same direction. A good business plan is a great way to accomplish this. The plan should be easy to understand and answer all of the questions posed earlier in this post. Using a common approach for planning will ensure that your leaders can truly take your organization to the next level!