Saturday, July 7, 2007

What should Global Leaders know?

A recent question on LinkedIn.com promoted me to think what should global leaders know. The question brought up the inevitability of global sourcing for leadership (and even managerial) talent. Now, I am no expert on leadership. And I think no one is! I have some views and decided to share with the guy who asked the question and other souls who answered. Here is a summary of what I said.

From what I know about leadership pipeline - it refers to a set of potential leaders who need to be developed to take leadership positions in future (not very distant future). I have believed and coached my colleagues to understand that:

1. It takes all kinds to make this world.
2. Just because we have a hammer in hand, everything is not a nail
3. To solve a small problem don’t create a bigger one
4. Setbacks are inevitable but misery is choice
5. Don’t give the key to your happiness to anyone else.

Global leaders will need to know how to:

1. Develop other leaders. I have noticed that the most successful leaders often have a happy problem of selecting from a vast pool of leadership talent. This cannot be a coincidence. They have been working at it.

2. Identify the right people for the right job. In a multi-cultural scenario one will need to learn to close our eyes to the familiar. Good leaders will need to develop a balance of objective criteria and gut feel about who will do well and who won’t.

3. Set goals and measure performance. No arguments here. No goals lead to no performance. And no performance leads to corporate decadence.

4. Balance between sensitivity for emotions and being decisive when dealing with people. The starkest differences across cultures are primarily to do with how we treat each other or work with each other. While sensitivity will be important, one will need to be very decisive when dealing with people.

5. Find uniqueness in one’s work, business, or industry. There is no better motivator than working for a unique cause (given that the money is decent!). A leader will need to define and redefine work and business.

6. Get things done. All the above does not matter if what needs to be done doesn't get done. Getting things done should be a high priority for global leaders.

7. Close the door on negative energy at work. Negative energy at work is a big killer. It destroys motivation and team spirit. A global leaeder should be sensitive to any hints of this and sort it out before it has its affect on the team.


8. Connect with people at all levels and of all backgrounds. Global leaders will need to work with people of diverse backgrounds and levels. Any failure to connect with them will be doomsday for leaders.

They will also need to remember that what brought them here may not take them forward.

What could you read on this topic? There is tons of material but the most relevant, in my view, are the works of Ram Charan and Noel Tichy.