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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
This issue offers a number of important learning sessions – each presented by authors who are world-class authorities – that your leadership group should share.
The first article – “Effective leadership response to crisis” by Helio Fred Garcia – should be discussed by the management team and then laminated and put under every leader’s desk phone. As he explains, whether an organization survives a crisis with its reputation, operations, and financial condition intact is determined less by the severity of the crisis than by the timeliness and effectiveness of the response. But some leaders who are otherwise given credit for vision, strategic focus, and discipline preside over undisciplined responses to crises, often at great risk to their career and their company’s future.
For another learning session, I suggest two research-based articles on two of the greatest challenges to executive leadership – how to achieve exceptional growth and how to establish an effective innovation program:
A team from the IBM Institute for Business Value looked at the growth history and practices of 1,238 companies over a decade and found that top growth companies excel in three vital areas: course, capability, and conviction. They map the winners’ best practices and advise leaders on how to manage a growth initiative.
Two experienced advisors from Strategos, the consultancy led by Gary Hamel, maintain that the obstacles most executives identify as the causes of innovation dysfunctionality are merely symptoms. The actual root causes are deeply embedded in the leadership behaviors, management processes, people skills, and values and culture of their companies. Their guide to how to be an effective serial innovator shows companies how to act systemically and in concert on the true sources of the problems.
But before you attempt such an important strategic initiative such as a growth or innovation project, you’ll want to read two articles that offer expert guidance on how to enlist and inspire stakeholders to wholeheartedly participate in them:
Consultants at Starizon warn leaders that that they are making a mistake if they assume that a new change initiative will take hold just because the business spends countless hours, valuable brain cells, and barrels full of money doing the research, analysis, goal-setting, and implementation planning necessary to come up with a transformative strategy. If you want your change message to actually alter how things are done in your world, then weave your message about the new strategy into a compelling and memorable story, a strategic narrative. Because only when leaders immerse their employees in compelling and inspirational strategy stories will their companies develop a unity of purpose.
Steve Denning, a consultant to many major corporations, explains that “as more and more firms grasp that narrative is central to addressing many of today’s key leadership challenges – for example, articulating the risks and opportunities identified by strategic-management tools like strategic plans, scenario analysis, and dilemma resolution – the question becomes: how is a CEO to make effective use of storytelling?” Leading companies increasingly recognize the need to train leaders to use artful narrative to inspire and guide their organization to respond effectively to these strategic challenges.
Robert M. RandallEditor