Business is always buzzing about leadership. Whether it’s market leadership, thought leadership, or a lack of leadership, hardly any topic garners as much discussion as what it means to be a leader.
Unfortunately, in a world where even the local hot dog vendor is claiming leadership in his field and self-professed gurus are a dime a dozen, the word leadership has lost its meaning. It has, in fact, taken on the qualities of chewing gum – becoming common, pliable and quick to lose its flavor.
So how can you communicate your company’s leadership to the audiences who matter most to you? You can’t simply wedge the word leadership into your “About Us” language – you have to lead like you mean it. Here are a handful of key strategies to do just that:
Set a Course
You can’t be a leader if you don’t know where you want to go. It’s vital to establish a vision and make thoughtful choices that are consistent with that vision. Don’t get caught up in the crisis of the day or the trend of the week. Imagine your vision as due north on a compass. Keep the arrow pointed toward it and you’ll advance toward success; if you let your focus shift and spin to other directions, you’re stuck going nowhere.
Sounds easy, right? Yet, throughout the business world, and particularly in the consulting sector, many still subscribe to the value system that says “time is money,” focusing on billing hours rather than advancing ideas. Some great ideas happen in an instant. Others are the result of significant time, energy and experimentation. What’s clear is that great ideas are worth significantly more than the time it took to develop them, and the companies of the future are capitalizing on them – just ask Mark Zuckerberg.
Without challenging yourself and your organization, you’ll never know what you can achieve. Smart risk-taking is bold and intentional. It requires you to do your research, understand what’s at stake and what’s to be gained, and make a calculated decision to move forward. With an eye toward the vision you’ve established, focus on being right more than you are wrong and seizing opportunities to propel your company toward your vision of success.
Expand Your Influence
Corporate leadership happens within the confines of your company’s walls, but it must extend beyond them, as well. Expand your influence by seeking opportunities to be involved as a leader within your industry and in the communities in which you operate. Whether you are launching a new corporate social responsibility initiative or serving on the board of a professional or trade association, your conscious choice to get involved and lead at a broader level will elevate your company’s profile and enable you to develop the relationships and trust that are essential to influence.
Invest in the Future
Leadership is not just about what your stock prices look like today. Long-term growth relies on you investing in the future of your company. This may mean investing in advanced technology, piloting new internal initiatives or acquiring an entity with expertise and skills that can help advance your business. For us at Gibraltar Associates, it means investing in people and relationships. We do that by recruiting the best and the brightest, developing our team members and fostering a culture dedicated to comprehensive client service – all investments that continue to support our significant year over year growth.
These are strategies that work for us and for our clients. What works for you? How else do you lead like you mean it? Let us know in the comments.
Veronica Brown specializes in public awareness campaigns, scientific and technical communications, health care communications and social media. Her knack for translating complex scientific and technical information into compelling messages and materials that resonate with policymakers, the public and other key audiences has been imperative in helping her clients achieve their strategic objectives.
Original post: Lead Like You Mean It