What does organizational leadership mean? How can this leadership take on the form of communicating vision, strategy and goals?
When trying to break down what we mean by the organizational leadership definition, we have to first ask what is the difference between a leader and a manager? Let’s start with the most basic definition: A leader has followers, while a manager has subordinates. In other words, following a leader is voluntary (think pull), while reporting to a manger is compulsory (think push). Managers hold formal power within your organization. Leaders hold suggestive power.
Managers are described in the organizational structure. Leaders may be anywhere in the organization or they may not be listed formally on the org chart at all. Look into your organization. Everyone knows who the leaders and managers are. The manager gives orders, describes the objectives, and measures the activity to see that the work gets done.
The leaders are the ones that everyone turns to for an explanation of why the job needs to be done. Good leaders are adept at getting buy-in — remember following a leader is voluntary so without buy-in your are not leading.
Motivation comes from either aspiration or desperation. Status quo is in the middle. If you are not aspiring to greatness then you are in status quo on the downhill slide before desperation sets in.
Aspiring to greatness requires vision. Creating the future requires vision. Leaders communicate a vision that moves the organization beyond status quo and away from the inevitable desperation that would follow an organization without vision.
I think vision is best illustrated by the artist Michelangelo. It is said that when he looked at a block of marble, he saw an angel inside, and carved to set it free. When you look into your business, the market or your future to you see what is possible? Are you able to remove the barriers to release the oppportunity awaiting inside your organziation? If so, that’s vision.
Leaders consistently facilitate the changes required to realize their vision. Communicating vision is not one-way communication. Leaders create a dialogue, a sense of community that unites disparate groups within the organization. But vision can not operate alone, it requires a clear strategy. The strategy brings vision down to earth and connects it to your daily actions.
Strategy is about taking the initiative from the competition through innovation and flexibility. Strategy couples survival and success. Organizations must do more than just survive (that’s status quo) they must succeed at what they are doing. To be successful, organizations must be flexible enough to innovate. Innovation gives life to the vision, providing a path that others can follow.
What does it mean to innovate? Education and training introduces us to diverse thoughts and ideas. To innovate we must anticipate, be open to change, and be ready to see the new ideas when they happen. We must use our imaginations to see opportunities that offer something different and new. Moreover, we must find new ways to execute — improve the consistency, reliability, and quality within our operations.
“Strategy innovation is shifting a corporation’s business strategy in order to create new value for both the customer and the corporation.” The Power of Strategy and Innovation
Want to learn more about strategy innovation? Read The Power of Strategy and Innovation by Johnston, Jr., and Bate. In it, the authors provide a systematic method for creating powerful strategies. Case studies, chapter summaries, and execution tips illustrate how to achieve breakthrough results.
Strategy is realized through goals and objectives. Setting goals and choosing objectives is a lot harder than it sounds. Sure, anyone can set an objective but can you easily transform objectives into results? That’s because good objectives are built by leaders that have a clear vision, a good understanding of the kind of business metrics that can be achieved, and a keen sense of strategy.
This leadership behavior can take on the form of communicating vision, strategy and goals & objectives. Successful process improvement programs are created from powerful visions, solid strategies, and clear goals & objectives.