Today’s CEO is expected to be both hardheaded and softhearted. Tough economies of scale, increasing uncertainty in morale and a harsh regulatory environment all contribute to this need. Originally given as advice by David Packard, co-founder, with William Hewlett, of Hewlett-Packard, these words of advice have now been formulated into application-oriented principles.
The world can no longer accept an either-or premise while managing the excellence it demands.
Motivating Generation X – An insurance executive wanted to know how to motivate people who are from the generation that demands responses as if the organization is an app. His query was that the principle-based thinking of his third generation family-oriented business is considered archaic by the rank and file. Utilizing the principle of “Beginning by saying Thank You,” he was able to bring into the culture a new transformation that connected him back to the foundations of the original business. Culture transformation in today’s business climate is often enhanced when change is introduced by acknowledging the known past and present before introducing an unknown future. The luxury of emotion if often required to facilitate discussions, while being guided by the logic of sound decision making.
The New Inverted Organization – Top down management was exposed when the quality movement swept through the world and mandated that people and processes be considered as well. Inverted organizations became customer-focused and the structure now turned upside down needed new pillars of support. Experts and consultants proposed that these pillars range from teamwork and process improvement to communal involvement and benefit plans. All proposed and provided accountability. One of the new principles is, “you are the enterprise.” While mentors can guide you and environments shape you, ultimate success comes from deeper within. A hard headed and soft hearted approach focuses on taking ownership. There is a difference between the knowledge in knowing you are in charge and the wisdom in applying that knowledge practically.
Implementation in a Boundary-less World – The goal of leadership has often been defined and established by the word “influence.” It is not uncommon for the CEO to have a meeting in Shanghai in the morning, in New Deli that night, while simultaneously consulting in South America and Europe by video conference somewhere in between. The people on the other end of the directive are from all backgrounds, cultures, and linguistic origins. Managing the time requirements of business process outsourcing in Vietnam is as much a necessity as knowing the productivity habits in Austria. “Delivering Results” is designed to give people insight in assumptions, analysis, and action by focusing on accountability, a sense of urgency and making a commitment.
The hardheaded and softhearted approach is offered to establish the ongoing need for both IQ and EQ in decision making. The world is changing, and the needs and demands of the enterprise are changing. The function of leadership is evolving to include a coach, cheerleader, and consultant. The need of the hour is a primer that offers the functionality of tried and proven methodologies with the instant-application potential needed in today’s marketplace. Winning from the boardroom to the break room is not just a necessity, it is finally a possibility.
Dallas-based Krish Dhanam is the co-author, along with Rick Belluzzo, of “Hardheaded & Softhearted: Lessons from the Boardroom to the Break Room.
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