Ok, I'm going to put it right out there that some executives and entrepreneurs are cynical about leadership development
and think it is soft.
Well, I'm not one of them.
Actually, neither are some of the most successful companies and entrepreneurs in the world. Look up what Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, thinks of leadership; or Jack Welch, "Manager of the Century", or Steve Jobs. You'll understand the need for leadership development pretty quickly.
I believe effective leadership and culture sits at the heart of every innovation
and forward steps a company makes. If you choose to fore-go leadership development, you do so at the peril of your own business. Tony Hsieh's belief is "if we get the culture right, then everything else, including the customer service, will fall into place."
Venture Capitalists will tell you they invest in three things; people, people and people. Yes, that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but it'll give you the idea that having the right leadership in place means the difference between success and failure in most companies.
Are you picking up what I'm putting down here in terms of the magnitude of impact quality leadership skills and leadership development will have on your business or career? Are you involved in a business that will be passed onto a next generation of owners soon and don't have a proper leadership development
plan in place for the heir to the business?
Have you found that while you may have successfully founded and grown your own business to where it is now, you still haven't been able to transition as much work as you'd like? Is it a culture issue, where everyone isn't on the same page or do you just need to find and train more leaders to share in your passion?
Well, your issue might very well be with inadequate leadership development
. Executives and leaders need to be continuously learning and growing to meet the ever-changing needs of their environments. That is why developing future leaders and crafting a leadership succession plan should be top of the list of your on-going priorities.
By focusing on developing leaders in your organization, you can help build the leadership skills
that are perfectly suited to your business and allow your followers to be more adaptive and innovative within your organization.
Let's go back and look at how Tony Hsieh used leadership as the foundation for shaping Zappos, a household name now. Zappos is known for doing things in a way in which puts people before profits. Below is a brief timeline of Zappos existence:
- 1999 - Tony Hsieh invests $0.5 million in an online shoe store
- 2000 - Zappos gets rejected by numerous investors and runs out of money. Hsieh begins funding operations with his own money and sets his salary at $24
- 2002 - Hsieh sells his high end condo to continue funding the business, all against the wishes of his family and advisers
- 2005 - Amazon.com offers to buy Zappos, Hsieh declines the offer. He stated "If we sold, we'd probably be folded into their operations and our brand and culture would be at risk of disappearing"
- 2009 - Amazon.com agrees to let Zappos remain independent and buys Zappos for $1.2 billion and Hsieh remains the company's CEO (his annual salary remains a whopping $36,000)
Without the passion and leadership
of Hsieh, Zappos would have gone bankrupt in 2000; now they are one of the most successful companies in the world. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, and another great leader saw the strength of Tony Hsieh's business and properly allowed Hsieh to continue to lead Zappos into the future; showing the foresight of trusting in a brilliant leader.
Let's look at another example. General Electric; even in turbulent times, focused on leadership and has churned out numerous c-level executives over the years (Leadership extraordinaire Jack Welch
being their most famous alumni).
Their mission is to inspire, connect and develop the leaders of today and tomorrow. GE spends close to $1 billion per year on training; yes, you read that correctly, $1 billion. They have been an incredible company for decades and they are known for their leadership development. Coincidence? I don't think so.
Simply put, people need leaders and so do businesses
. The current environment is a turbulent one, but also extremely exciting in terms of technological advances and the true globalization of the business world. You need to be able to develop leaders that will make a difference in your business and be able to adapt to the ever changing world.
Have you been burned when you thought you finally groomed a leader (or even brought one directly into your business) and had them fail? Leadership identification failure can be costly. An effective leadership development program may not rid you of that potential risk, but it can dramatically reduce it.
Now, you can read all about leadership development and leadership skills
till you are blue in the face, but until you actually go out and do something and practice those leadership skills, you will not make all that big of a difference in your follower's lives. Leadership development is complex
; you can't just send someone to a class or on-line training and expect them to come back a leader.
That being said, many leaders have benefited from our leadership development programs and have been able to learn tangible leadership skills and ultimately be able to implement those leadership skills in their business. We'd love to be able to help you out with your leadership coaching and leadership development
Sign up for a free strategy session
and we'll personally discuss your needs with you.
To Your Success,
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