At its core, leadership is about setting a direction for an organization and its people. Anytime we deal with people, we are inevitably dealing with extreme variability. This is evident in today’s realm of leadership courses, leadership styles and leadership consultants all trying to improve the leaders of today’s businesses, schools, non-profits, teams and governments. Ultimately, it depends on the people inside an organization that will determine what style of leadership is best for them. Nonetheless, in this article I’ll try to highlight some of the benefits of each style of leadership, including some examples of well-known people who I think best embody that style.
An immigrant from South Africa, Elon Musk is an inventor, entrepreneur, investor and multi-billionaire. After dropping out of a Stanford PhD program, Musk went on to create and sell his first technology company to Compaq Computer Co. for over $300 million (USD). After that, he and his brother created what we know today as PayPal, before selling to eBay for $1.5 billion in stock. Finally, he had the funds to start a private space exploration company called SpaceX, as well as an electric vehicle company called Tesla shortly after. Along with having an involvement in other companies such as Solar City, Neuralink, and the Boring Company, Musk’s success has amassed him a net worth or over $19 billion.
Time and time again, organizations book strategy days, plan retreats and spend money on strategic planning sessions that don’t produce any lasting results. The session may go well and produce a sensible and comprehensible plan for everyone to follow, but progress hardly takes form. The plan barely gets off the ground before it’s pulled back down to business as usual.
In today’s ever changing business environment led by technological advancement and a shift in the nature of supply and demand, some organizations are being left behind while others thrive. Some cling to old methodologies and technologies while others are stuck in constant pursuit of the next new thing. While there is no one ‘right way’ to run an organization, we can be sure of one thing: The organizations that survive and prosper will be the ones that are quick on their feet to adapt in the face of change.
Moneyball is a 2011 movie based of Michael Lewis’ book that details the Oakland Athletics baseball team and their 2002 season managed by Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt). The team has one of the smallest budgets in the league, which prompts Beane to enlist a young Yale economics graduate to use data and analytics to build his new and unusual team. After a wildly successful season for the usually poor-performing Athletics, people recognize his conviction and the success of his strategy using undervalued players. Along with many valuable lessons on business, Moneyball also provides useful insights on executing a strategic plan, leadership and creating change.
In any organization, efficient communication internally is a driving factor of success and employee morale. When employees are able to understand each other, they’re able to work better together and therefore create a better experience for the customers as well. A strong communication flow allows a message to go from top to bottom, laterally, and even diagonally across departments. However, having an effective communication flow is easier said than done.