It is interesting that the Wikipedia entry on “Leadership” begins with the statement that “defining leadership has been challenging.” In today’s real world, business leaders are a lot less concerned with defining leadership and, instead, are intensely focused on coping with successfully executing it for their continued personal and organizational survival and success. To do so, practical tools and resources are available from providers like us at Potentia, the successor [GR1] to my earlier companies (O’Connor Associates, Life Associates, The Center For Managing By Values), that carries on the work contributions from me, my co-authors and colleagues, and our professional associates.
Of these resources, the over-arching, comprehensive one that includes our past, present, and future performance solutions is currently referred to as the Optimal Business Performance Model®. It is the focus of this blog and, by way of analogy, is much like a compass as both a simple and yet profoundly practical tool for enabling all people, whether or not a leader or manager, to achieve and sustain higher performance in these most challenging times. The dictionary describes a compass as a “resource for finding a desired direction…and then achieving it.” While this sounds simple enough, most leaders lack such a practical tool for achieving sustained success that requires pursuing different directions as its situation changes.
The four “N-S-E-W” directions shown on a compass can be likened to the four different solutions that organizations require to survive and succeed. These are Culture, People, Processes, and Strategy.
Culture and Strategy provide the long-term, visionary perspective and direction while its People and Processes involve the immediate, operational factors that must be effectively managed. Organizations that experience sustained higher performance in both good and bad times develop and exhibit strength in all four areas. And those that either aren’t strong in each or lack strength in the area needed either don’t survive or really struggle.
I’ve seen this in a company that had been an award-winning business leader whose winning business Strategy and competitive advantage eroded over time because its People didn’t buy-in to it. And, in another organization, it had strong business Processes that began to work against it over time as market conditions changed and it failed to respond in a Culture that was resistant to reinventing itself. It is perhaps most fascinating that the true “magnetic north” of the leadership compass is its Culture. This provides the character that keeps customers, employees, and thus investors to continue with them through turbulent times.
If you would like to learn more about this model or how you can use it for higher performance by your organization, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Michael O’Connor is a recognized practical visionary and problem-solving author, consultant, coach, and mentor focused on winning performance. He is the creator of the Optimal Business Performance Model and author and co-author of many resources, including the best-selling ‘Winning Culture’ book, MANAGING BY VALUES as well as THE LEADER WITHIN, GPS FOR SUCCESS, and PEOPLE SMART. He is the founder of Life Associates, The Center For Managing By Values, O’Connor Associates, and their successor company, Potentia. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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