Leadership at the operational level

Leadership is the key ingredient in the success of any endeavor. Excellence or failure is a reflection of the top because the environment is a product of the people who lead and drive the effort. Attracting and retaining the best–often those better than the hiring manager–is a cardinal sign that an organization cherishes leadership, excellence, and sustainability. Getting the right people into the right places helps to build sustainable innovation environments in which all internal stakeholders and intrapreneurs can align towards strategic goals.

Intelligence, sound judgment, and the capacity to anticipate are characteristics that set front runners from the rest of the crowd who are also expected to possess integrity, a high energy drive to get things done, a balanced ego, and loyalty. Organizations fail because of the caliber of people involved, not just because of strategic and operational plans, endeavors, or management theories and fads.

Colin Powell extolled multiple lessons about leadership from his experience whereby these lessons apply universally across institutional and industry sectors. Perpetual optimism as a force multiplier is also a clear motivating factor to those across the organization. It helps define and mold strategy, it helps everyone cope with the pace of business and change, and it sets the tone and operational level for the whole organization. Taking educated risks is another multiplier that enables everyone in the organization. You don’t know what works until you give a try.  Some fast lessons:

  • Keep it simple
  • Be approachable–it allows you to find the real problems
  • Organization charts tend to freeze movement and communication across heirarchical divides–so mix it up often
  • Keep looking at the details for the facts and rebut the experts to keep them on their toes–it keeps you grounded but your head in the clouds of strategy
  • Lending your ego to a position only diminishes your pride when the position fails
  • Leading, managing, and governing properly help most folks and anger some others.

Above all, we work so that we can provide for and support our loved ones. Spend sufficient time with your loved ones to recharge your cognitive batteries and your maximize your memory. Being close to your loved ones keeps the loneliness of leadership at bay. By being in diverse situations, it cross-trains your brain to enable you to look at issues with multiple perspectives and viewpoints.

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