A brief review of organizational performance over the past five years indicates a lack of consistency in business performance. Considering the number of organizations now finding themselves in non-viable positions we are forced to conclude that earlier reported successes were probably due more to chance factors than to capable executive leadership. Research indicates that up to 70% of organizational culture, which is a determining factor in an organizations success, can be attributed to leadership style.
For an organizational leader to create an effective culture for success they need to possess sufficient technical depth in the “core” business. This will allow them to accurately analyse organizational performance reports and identify potential problem areas early enough to make important changes. A number of organizations in Zimbabwe are led by brilliant scholars who possess all the academic qualifications one can think of but lack the practical “know how”. This forces them to rely on the reporting of subordinates which is frequently tainted with incorrect facts if not based on non-factual data. Perhaps the time has come for us to take stock of the fact that, the state that an organization finds itself in is a true reflection of the organization’s leader. In recent times we have found it convenient to blame the environment for all of an organisation’s misfortunes but the truth is that the real starting point is self introspection.
Executive leadership is a key source of competitive advantage and the question each CEO or Managing Director should be asking themselves is, “do they have the key competencies required for the job and the correct mind-set about their responsibilities to themselves and other people with whom they work?” Transformational leadership is what responsible CEOs should be considering with a view towards advancing the interests of the stakeholders, as opposed to individual interest. Most corporate scandals in Zimbabwe and the world over involve the pursuance of personal interest at the cost of organizational sustainability.
Transformation will not take place as long as decision makers continue to base appointments on non – job related factors. Using such criteria for appointments also results in the appointees owing their allegiance to certain individuals as opposed to shareholders. This has resulted in the flourish of unethical business practices. Each individual manager has a responsibility to the shareholders which should be reflected in the way they conduct the company’s business. This involves reporting unethical business regardless of reprisals.
We should learn from what is happening around us by immediately changing a course of events to correct a faulty process or outcome. This in itself represents a change of mind-set. In order for us to implement this important principle we need to change the manner in which we react to events in organizations such as “killing the bringer of bad news, encouraging people not to rock the boat or insistence on continuing to do things as they were done in the past”. As part of the journey of change, some organizations need to re-look at their executive teams and ask themselves if they have the capacity and willingness to embark on the journey that is essential to the organization’s continued viability. Decision makers need to take the drastic action of getting the “right” people on the bus and taking the “wrong” people off the bus.
Leaders need to take the stand for personal change by starting to do their own work and thus providing a model to the workforce which they seek to influence. If we consider that only 50% of most workforces have the motivation to keep learning and improving, 4 in 10 people cannot work cooperatively and that only 19% of entry level applicants have adequate self-discipline for their jobs, we are made aware of why leaders are fundamental to the success of an organisation. Leaders need to start behaving differently, make the hard changes in themselves and realize that its as much about changing their own personal lives as it is about changing their organizational roles. This conscious approach to transformation can create conditions required for discovering the future and ways of being that our organizations and society need in order to thrive.
Memory Nguwi is the Managing Consultant of Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or cell number 077 2356 361 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com