Directional Leadership

In 1984, singer Joe Jackson had a hit song with a line in it that said, “You can’t get what you want, until you know what you want”.  As a leader, the most important questions that can be answered is where are we going, and why are we going there?

Typically, business are started to solve a problem.  Whether the business owner is attempting to create a new product or to improve on an existing concept, they are fundamentally wanting to solve a problem.  The leaders reporting to the business owner must believe in the vision and direction that the owner has.  Leaders must engage the front line employees in the direction of the organization in order for the business to be successful.  As a result successful operations have top to bottom synergy.

In customer facing roles, the worst response that can be provided to a customer is “They say I need to follow this procedure, even though it doesn’t make sense”  If successful operations must have top to bottom synergy in direction, why would customers receive this response from front line employees.  Has the direction of the organization changed, and the top level management just hasn’t caught up or vice-versa?  This is a problem.

How do you know what you want?  What direction do you as a leader want to create?  It is essential to continually be taking temperature checks of the organization both formally and informally to ensure if conditions have changed in the market, that leaders are creating the direction and are being response to the intel provided to them at all levels.  Leaders that dismiss feedback, are doing themselves and their organization a big disservice. 

Once you have created organizational synergy and are providing directional, responsive leadership, you are then able to ensure the organization is being effective and efficient in the execution of the vision and mission of the the organization.  You can get what you want, if you know what you want.  As a leader, you need to invest not only the monetary and intellectual resources to creating organizational direction, but you must invest your human resources for long term organizational success. 

A baseball team would love to have a lineup of all .400 hitters, but what is the cost of doing so, pitching effectiveness, defensive ability.  What’s the benefit of scoring 15 runs a game, if you are giving away 16.  Balance and team work are imperative for baseball organizations.

This same balance and team work are imperative in other environments as well.  The difference is the directional leadership that is being provided and if the organization buys into the leaders direction.  You really can get what you want, if you know what you want!

Have a great week!

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