Strategy, Leadership and the Soul
Strategy, Leadership and the Soul presents a new paradigm for organizations. In building their case, the authors present a unique analysis of the dynamics of organizational evolution since 1850 to the present day, reflecting on how the context of the changing nature of society over time has informed the necessary adjustments in structure and leadership, and in what way these have been vital to the sustainability of those organizations. The current quixotic context for both small and large organizations – the rapidly changing business landscapes, global interconnectedness, technological innovation and the diversity of the needs of customers and employees alike – requires organizations to ‘be in a state of permanent transformation if they are to survive’, to become transorganizations.
And in order for these transorganizations to survive, a new style of leader is required – a transleader. From their experience as consultants, the authors conclude that transleaders must transform themselves first rather than look to the outside for a solution.
The qualities needed for this leadership style are:
- the ability to communicate with passion and clarity
- to develop a shared language that can transform the thinking of everyone working in or with the organization
- to inspire self-confidence and knowledge to strengthen teams
- to share power, and give greater control to the workforce to behave like mentors rather than bosses
- to welcome diversity
- to have an exceptional level of self-awareness
- to be able to transcend culture, age, and title as a means to arrive at what is relevant
The soul of an organization is the intrinsic corporate identity that underlies all that it does, that informs its business practices, its aims and goals, its internal and external relationships and its intangible sense of direction-shared in an aligned way between its employees, its managers, its shareholders and its business partners. It is the extremely present and powerful set of beliefs that make the organization what it is. This is not the same as superficial PR or the ‘image’ on advertisements, nor is it just brand identity or corporate culture, but the identity that defines and aligns the relationship it has within the various sectors of the organization and in its interface with the global community.
20 Characteristics of the Transleader
Transleaders are intelligence officers. They are always looking for the unexpected insight, the unrecognized trends, and the subtle changes in the company’s markets, customers and technologies. And they maintain a large network of sources and informants.
They are intuitive and creative people. They deeply understand the business environment and naturally have insights about how to operate within and beyond it.
They are open and easy to know. They can be trusted and they are able to trust.
They are marathon runners. They know they recognize changes more quickly than others in their organization and they are well aware of the need to begin, at the earliest opportunity, convincing their colleagues and employees that changes are on the way – major shifts in business models, competitive landscapes and technology.
They are encouraging, as opposed to judgmental. They are always inclined to appreciate the efforts and talents of others.
They reject the “more of the same” option. They recognize that continuity of traditional models is not the road to growth, but the path to stagnation. They are not advocates of the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” method of operation. If it isn’t broken, they are nonetheless eager to figure out how to do it better – before someone else does.
They are highly flexible. Ready to change directions at the drop of a hat if conditions warrant are not stuck on pre-determined paths, even if they had personally chosen the old direction.
They have great clarity, about themselves, about their organization and all of those who have a stake in its productions, its services and its success.
They act like orchestra conductors, drawing great music from their associates, according to the vision they have for the company and in accord with the organizations deepest values.
They make decisions quickly and surely, fathering the information they need, but not paralyzing themselves with the need to know everything.
They are revolutionary thinkers. They don’t spend time trying to figure out how their businesses can join trends, instead, they work on ways to generate preference shirts, based on their observations and knowledge of their customers and their markets. They are open to both tangible, rational observations and intangible, immeasurable insights and flashes of inspiration.
They do not try to forecast the future. Instead, they focus on inventing it. They are fascinated by the possibilities of creating futures of their own design, in which they will control how industries markets evolve.
They are both optimistic and stubborn. They know that their openness to change, innovation, and course alterations will inevitably put them into conflict with members of their teams.
They welcome conflict. Because they know it will help them hone their ideas and being others aboard.
They also know that if their ideas are easily adopted, they are not really re-inventing the future, they are simply demonstrating how to compliant their employees can be.
They are excellent listeners. They are highly skilled at eliciting the opinions, observations, and preferences of others. As a result, their perspectives are broadened and their information flow is strong and steady.
They are high-energy people. It takes a lot of energy to adopt a broad view of your own organization. It also takes a lot of energy – and determination – to make things happen. Low-energy people seldom, if ever, make good transleaders.
They understand that their life experiences, their characters, and their personalities are at least as important as their professional experiences – in other works, they realize who they are is as important as what they know.
They are intrinsically curious, eager to know about new people, new trends, new developments, new ways of doing doings. They make sure that their leadership is relevant to even to those who know more than they do.
They see themselves less as forceful commanders and more as energetic teachers, social workers, mentors, coaches, guides, conductors, and Sherpas.