Times have changed.
Competitive advantage is a big deal. The ability to focus your team around a singular mission is crucial. But do you have the right person leading the charge? That's the question!
After all, the ability to inspire your team to contribute their discretionary efforts is demanded in this hyper-competitive marketplace. And most companies don't have the dedicated loyalty of their people. Do you? As you look into the future, you may find you need a new leadership persona for your company. You may also need a more solidified culture.
Consider our headline in the context of these trends already underway:
- Change is coming faster than we can comprehend.
- The diversity of the workforce has never been more pronounced.
- Unity and clarity of mission have never been more difficult to achieve.
In times like these, courage and strategic thinking are crucial. Strong personal relationships increasingly matter, especially as this applies to the relationships your company develops with your customers, instills between your employees, and forges with key suppliers. Trust throughout these relationships will secure the bedrock of your future. Stabilizing your company's culture is number one.
Stated differently . . . Trustworthy relationships secure the heart of your company culture. Many times, women prioritize relationships more instinctively than men. It's in their DNA. You may need a healthy dose of this DNA type injected into the veins of your organization.
We are predicting and encouraging a record number of women to step into the role of owner, entrepreneur, or CEO over the next few years. Our forecast is not based on quotas or movements. In our view, that's demeaning. We're basing our expectations on the requirements for our times. Entrepreneurial networking groups are reporting a sharp uptick in female members. The workforce has changed. More women will find the door open when answering the leadership calling.
Here are three reasons we believe you might consider or reconsider one or more women for the leadership assignment ahead: relationships, relationships, and relationships.
It is clear that many men can meet this need. Make no mistake. They leverage the value of trust, communication, and teamwork. However, others do not. In the past, male leadership styles focused predominantly on organizational hierarchy, technological prowess, or operational efficiencies. These factors are still important. So is profitability.
Yet, as we scan the needs of the emerging workforce, a two-fold conundrum has emerged. Younger workers are coming on stream with a brand new value system, and this young, highly mobile workforce is more culturally diverse. In other words, they have a wide variety of expectations the old team may be unwilling to meet. There is no good time for a mutiny.
In our observations, the blending of global cultures, values, and priorities call for a more people-responsive leadership team. Cultural diversity is especially true in technical fields and IT departments where corporate dysfunction is often simmering over behind the scenes. Someone has to circle the wagons now and produce a unified agenda that nurtures happy customer relationships. A tight, cost-effective supply chain also relies on good relationships.
Tomorrow's leaders will be called upon to balance the company's need for accountability and performance with a nurturing corporate environment where relationships flourish. It won't be an option. Some leaders (male and female) practice this instinctively and are pulling away from the pack. Other leaders are learning the hard way. If you are falling behind, it's time to act.
Do you have the right person who has the courage, strategic mindset, AND sensitivity to relationships as we've described? How do you know?
Ask yourself these five questions about the person predicted to lead your company:
- 1. Do they have the courage to do the right thing for everyone involved, despite stiff opposition?
- 2. Do they think strategically about the impact of their words, actions, and decisions?
- 3. Do they seem to value your customers, employees, and strategic partners?
- 4. Do they demonstrate a clear vision for the future of your industry?
- 5. Do they build trust by communicating with a sense of transparency?
Change is coming faster than we can comprehend. The diversity of the workforce has never been more pronounced. Unity and clarity of mission have never been more difficult to achieve. Tense times call for cool heads. Diverse ideas require unified execution. Clarity of thought enables effective communication. The most important question you can ask yourself today is simple. Do you have the right person running your company?
Set gender aside and focus on the future! It may be time to ask an uncomfortable question.
Who is best suited to run your technology company?
Answer: The right person for the times.
Keith Martino (www.KeithMartino.com) is head of CMI, a global consultancy founded in 1999 that customizes leadership initiatives for technology companies and IT departments. Keith is the author of
Expect Leadership in Technology. After more than 20 years and numerous awards at FedEx, Xerox, and Baxter Healthcare, Martino and his team provide world-class counsel and proven web-based tools that produce consistent results for companies like Oracle, Verizon, and Peach State Technologies.
Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.
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