"Leadership must fundamentally transform, understand its people and let them focus on improvement"
Improvement is hard work. It takes passionate leadership, effective management and inspired people. Improvement cannot be delegated to a small group of people or become the responsibility of a single function. This new mindset requires a paradigm shift to a culture where every single person is engaged in the purposeful pursuit of excellence. The search for improvement will then become instinctive; creating a safe environment to challenge based on respect and humility.
The fostering of curiosity requires principled leadership and not traditional management. Our values influence how we see the world and ultimately the behaviours and principles we choose to adopt will govern the outcome of decisions we make based on those behaviours and principles.
Principles are fundamental truths and can be defined as natural laws that are timeless in meaning and essentially inarguable. Values govern our actions and principles govern the consequences of our actions. It is not necessary to change; survival is not mandatory it is your choice. Principled leadership must happen at all levels in the business. This builds collective leadership capability that spans the organisation, empowering people to lead improvements in daily work at different levels. This becomes the process to achieve collective and individual improvement.
Principled leadership is built on trust. Without trust a culture of excellence will not flourish and the control and command style of traditional management will hold back the people and the business from growing. Leadership inspires leadership.” It doesn’t make sense to employ smart people and not listen to them.”
The first step for leaders is to understand conceptually how a culture built on more leaders as opposed to more followers will harness the collective sum of the whole organisation. Business excellence will not become central to everything we do, by what we do, rather by how we think. The passionate pursuit of perfection is fundamentally impossible to reach but the collective pursuit brings out the very best in people and this is the key to growing leadership at all levels anchored to our values and principles.
Business excellence cannot be achieved by top-down initiatives or by training. It requires commitment, persistence and attention. A culture of excellence must therefore be grown and the foundation for this is principled leadership built on trust, humility and respect for every individual. This has to happen across the business.
There is nothing more disrespectful than taking someone’s ideas and giving them back the solution. People must be allowed to take ownership, however with that comes the responsibility to lead. If a culture of excellence is our destination, then principled leadership will become the engine to drive us forward. It’s amazing how much you can achieve if you don’t care who gets the credit.