(For those who say I just don’t get it…get this!)
Many times over the years when I’ve written or spoke on the subject of leadership, I’ve used what in my view are useful if not glaring examples of both the good – and the bad. As of late there has been no greater work in progress to use as a live example (and the stakes probably never higher) to watch and study than what’s currently taking place on the world stage today. i.e., The political. Then, using honest criteria and judgements as to rate the efficacy.
The politics (the left or the right of it) is not my position. That is not where the focus is for my discussions. It’s in the business application that’s so important. For the application, and the why, is where one needs to pay attention. For all (and I do mean all) businesses strategy implementation, along with employee and customer buy in, is – political in nature and effect. It’s not isolated to just the elected, it also encompasses the business type as well.
You must get people to join your cause, work through the bad times with resolve and loyalty. Vote for your products via paying for them with real money, and so forth.
Politics and business as to rally the troops is not that dissimilar. (although academia would have you not only believe so, but will teach it as so) And one must be able to look where these types of events are playing out at the highest of levels while looking for similarities. Then dissecting for take a-ways, and insights one can use or put to work within their own businesses or affairs with pragmatic efficiencies. Regardless if one agrees or disagrees with a political side or class. It’s all about business.
So when a few of my writings made the rounds on a number of media channels some took issue with them for what they deemed as criticizing “their guy.” As I’ve alluded to earlier: The political view is of little consequence to my discussions. I’m speaking and writing on the defining, relating, application and efficacy of any given or articulated strategy. Along with how as an entrepreneur one can apply or gain insights into them so they may use them now or in future endeavors. Period.
It’s also what I like to believe differentiates me from all the other motivational or business speakers and writers.
Unlike most that have only read books on business and now write books on what they “think” you should do in business while stating “they know” better than anyone else because they graduated from some Ivy league Alma mater, or have some form of alphabet soup after their name. I’ve actually had to do it. And across varying industries at high levels. All without even graduating from high school, but rather with a track record of success.
This both enables and gives me the understandings, along with the acumen, to point out what I believe are relevant examples that business people at all levels should pay attention to.
This comes from The Harvard Business Review from over 4 years ago which was part of a six-week blog series on how leadership might look in the future. (link to full article here):
Leading From Behind
by Linda Hill May 5, 2010
From the article:
For now and into coming decade or so, the most effective leaders will lead from behind, not from the front — a phrase I’ve borrowed from none other than Nelson Mandela. In his autobiography, Mandela equated a great leader with a shepherd: “He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”
It’s a concept whose time has come, given several realities:
Since this article was published Harvard has graduated 4 classes of MBA’s and more whom are now (presuming they aren’t in their parent’s basement still and have actually found gainful employment) working their way throughout the business community.
Add too this the classes that had just entered when this article was first published and will graduate this coming summer, not to mention how many classes graduated prior. It would be one thing if this article was published by just anyone (as in some off the cuff researcher) however this is an actual professor at Harvard Business. So one must take as prima facie this idea of “leadership” is what is being taught. Taught I must emphasize at what many consider one of, if not “the” highest level or institution of business academia in the world.
One can only presume this is true for we are not only witnessing, but we have been told by the political that this “Leading From Behind” style of leadership is both, in place, and being followed at the highest of political engagements.
Add to this what is being witnessed throughout the business elite and the way in which far too many are acting and positioning their companies, I have only one thing to either say or ask:
How’s that “Leading From Behind” all working out?
And just one last point that I believe must be addressed which is truly FTWSIJDGIGT worthy.
For those of the self-appointed “Punctuation Police” and “Grammar Gestapo” that just can’t wait to express outrage and point out typos or grammatical errors in my writings. That glaring grammatical error in the first line of that quote is not from yours truly. That was made by the author who is both a professor at Harvard Business and was not caught by the editors themselves at the Harvard Business Review. Even though there is an “Editors note” directly added above the glaring error.
Although I’m not bashful to say I have a hard time spelling cat without spell checker. I guess I can now add too it I’m just writing and keeping my standards in line with the highest levels of academia. Right?
© 2014 Mark St.Cyr