Leadership development is the hottest of hot topics these days. A quick search of Amazon shows tens of thousands of books on the subject! The reality is that in most family owned businesses, leadership development is a low priority if it is addressed at all. Yet it is critical to the continuity and sustainability of an enterprise.
All too often the leadership mantra of senior executives is to look at what the company did last year, add a few dollars for anticipated growth, and use the strategies and tactics that it has used in the past to get where it is. That’s not leadership; that’s defending the status-quo, and it’s ultimately a recipe for stagnation and failure. Real leaders look into the future, seek new paths and new ways for doing business, and continually reinvent and re-engineer themselves and their companies.
While leadership is a difficult to define and complex process, John Maxwell has a wonderfully concise definition: “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.” Don’t confuse leadership with management, however. Unlike a manager’s authority which is defined by the company’s organization chart, leaders inspire followers to follow. Leadership isn’t necessarily a position of formal authority; it is more about person to person influence than authority dictated by a box in the organizational hierarchy. How many managers have you known who, in spite of their formal authority, have been unable to produce results for their teams because of their lack of leadership characteristics and qualities? Formal position, titles, or membership in the family which owns the company are no substitutes for developing leaders.
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+ Leadership Development Plan
The Family Business Institute can prepare leadership development and integration plans that incorporate specific business goals and objectives and the skills, mentoring, and knowledge it takes to achieve them.
+ Creating a Leadership Culture
Organizations emulate their leaders. If the leader can’t or won’t exercise discipline and manage himself, the company’s people and results will reflect that. The organization needs to know who it is collectively, what it stands for, and where it’s headed. The company gets that information from its leader(s). Self management is at the core of creating a leadership culture.
+ Developing and Integrating High Potential Next Generation Leaders
There are several interesting and useful tools to develop “Next Gen” leaders. The Family Business Institute uses 360° evaluations, processes for discovering unique talents, psychometric evaluation tools, and other processes to identify, train, and develop high potential next generation – family or non-family – leaders. We also work to dispel many of the misconceptions about developing leaders in family owned businesses. Leadership development plans can be as varied as the families and companies which utilize them. Formal training and special projects are both part of leader development. Other best practices include communications training, self awareness work, the use of “bridge management”, training in making collaborative (versus unilateral) decisions, and others.
Maybe you don’t see answers to your specific questions here. Contact us anyway. It doesn’t cost you anything and we will give you blunt, straightforward, heartfelt advice to get you pointed in the right direction. If we can’t help you, maybe we have contacts or know someone who can.
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