Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Meaning-making in Leadership 

Harold Jarche treats of something that is really important to me in Thinking Longer. Because of the financial pressures of modern economy, organizations focus a lot on short-term ROI as business continuity is now seen more as a 3-month issue than a 5-year one. At 30 I’m professionally old enough to remember a time when businesses were doing 5-year and 3-year strategic plans that would remain relevant throughout their expected lifetime. Strategic planning is now seen more as a “work-in-progress”, meaning that by the time we get it right it’s already outdated and needs to be reshaped.

A discussion I had yesterday highlighted the fact that many modern senior managers are actually managing financial performance and public image rather than being leaders. That leads to the inevitable question: what is leadership. Here’s an interesting discussion on the topic. It states that despite the fact that research on leadership tends to focus on financial performance, a large portion of it is actually related to “meaning-making”. Many modern senior managers who are very poor meaning makers are still considered great leaders ($$$). It’s OK to make money, but it’s much better to do it with a smile.

What is leadership? I always believed, and tried to practise (especially in the Army) that there is only one kind of leadership - Leadership by Example.

I just came across this "Worthwhile" piece on how management can better communicate. It might be of interest: http://www.worthwhilemag.com/entry/2005/01/13/the_secret_code_of_an_honest_leader.php
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