Are You Building a Leadership Culture?

A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.  – Jim Rohn

Last week, for the seventh year, the Hay Group released their findings that identify which organizations have the best leadership practices and what we can learn from them. The top five companies were General Electric, Proctor & Gamble, IBM, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola.

The Hay Group polled 7,000 people in more than 2,300 companies worldwide. Respondents rated their own companies and were asked to nominate three other companies they most admire for leadership. Each of the companies shared four common leadership traits: the company enables organizational agility, broadens perspective, focus on collaboration, and leadership drives innovation.

Among some of the more interesting survey findings were: 100 % of the best companies let all employees behave like leaders. Only 54% of peers do likewise; 90% of best companies let employees bypass the chain of command with an excellent idea; problems are opportunities, 95% of best companies think this way; collaboration is mandatory. 100% of the best companies take action when a leader is not collaborating; 95% of senior leaders take time to actively develop others. Only 48% of leaders at peer companies do this; and 95% of best companies reward leaders based on their ability to build excellent peer relationships.

The 21st century marketplace has changed rapidly. It is important to be relevant. The Hay group report says, “With the accelerating pace of change, the window of meaningful innovation is narrower than ever. The best companies have flattened their organizations and streamlined governance, becoming more agile and reducing obstacles to innovation. They focus on instilling agility in their leaders, and design job roles to allow flexibility in responding to immediate projects. They work quickly to translate strategies and decisions into action, and drive decision-making authority down to organizational structure.”

Consider for a moment if you will the current state of leadership within your company and employee morale.  Are you on a sustainable path? Creating a culture of positive leadership takes hard work, dedication, and boldness. What does a successful culture of leadership look like? Here are three ideas for consideration.

A place of empowerment.  As the Hay Group survey reveals, the best companies are those that let employees behave like leaders. What a novel concept. When team members are empowered to behave as leaders they will not disappoint. Given the opportunity, empowered employees will work hard to meet and exceed expectations.

A culture of leadership with an emphasis on empowerment is coordinated by leadership that realizes that the vertical lines of authority are being replaced by horizontal ones. When everyone is empowered to lead everyone shares the success.

A place of possibilities. Within this culture of leadership and empowerment is a place of unlimited possibilities. While many companies choose to play it safe; consider this finding from the Hay Group survey – 94% of best companies are prepared to run unprofitable projects to try new things.

Imagine what could happen in your place of business if a culture of possibilities were to be implemented, even if it meant in the short-term that your company posted a loss? Dare we dream outside the box and unleash a culture of possibilities? Thomas Edison said, “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” What are you waiting on?

A place of vision. Winfred Newman said, “Vision is the world’s most desperate need. There are no hopeless situations, only people who think hopelessly.” He is right. The single greatest drawback to the advancement of your organization is a lack of vision. Until the vision is known, don’t expect a culture of leadership to thrive much less exist.

A culture of leadership thrives when the vision is clear, and everyone in your organization understands not just the “how to” of the operation but the “why “which speaks to your greater purpose. To the extent everyone knows the vision and purpose that is the extent to which you will be successful.

Are you building a culture of leadership?

© 2012 Doug Dickerson

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