Great leaders — those who deliver results consistently over time — aren’t perfect human beings. But they have a winning combination of personality traits, thought processes, and know-hows. Most important, they built their leadership know-how.
Many companies debate the exact set of personality traits their leaders should have, but miss the most important thing: the know-how of running a business. What difference does it make if a leader can rile up the troops if the direction is fundamentally wrong?
This is the question Ram Charan (author and consultant) asks, and goes on to say that some leaders choose the wrong goals, and the whole organization goes in the wrong direction. Some leaders make great, inspirational speeches, but what happens to people’s energy on Monday morning if marketing still doesn’t talk to operations.
Being a business leader is not a matter of charisma, presence, or motivational skills. It is about making good decisions and taking sound actions that get the organization to deliver results in the short term while strengthening the business in the long run. Know-how is the substance of business leadership. It’s often the missing piece in business leadership, and many leaders are failing for lack of it.
The Eight Leadership Know-Hows
Ram Charan identifies eight areas, or know-hows, in which you must hone your judgment:
- Positioning and repositioning your business to make money. Finding a central idea for the business that meets customer demands and delivers the fundamentals of moneymaking is key. In today’s fast changing world, leaders may have to reposition a business four or five times in their career.
- Detecting the patterns of external change. You must be able to make sense out of the complexity of the world to put your business on the offensive.
- Managing the systems of your business. It’s imperative that you design the systems that link actions and energy to business results, while enforcing the right behaviors.
- Judging people. Getting to the truth of a person and unleashing their natural talents is vital. This is how leaders expand an organization’s capacity.
- Molding a team of leaders. It takes true skill to get high-powered, high-ego people to work as a team.
- Setting goals. Finding the right balance between realism and reach in setting the organization’s destination is more important than you think. Many leaders set goals by looking in the rear view mirror.
- Determining priorities. You need to define a clear, specific pathway to an organization’s goals.
- Managing non-market forces. Finally, it’s important to know how to deal with forces you don’t control.
Is it time for you to build your leadership know-how and capability? Schedule a free 2-hour strategy session with me today!