I was home cleaning out my cabinet, a junk drawer to be precise, and I came across a few Nokia phones (are you old enough to remember the green tinted screens before the age of texting?). Nokia, birth in Finland, was the pioneer of cellular networks and was the top company in the mobile market globally.
What happened to Nokia? Was it the internet, the rapid growth of data transmission that toppled them? I’m sure there are many reasons for Nokia falling behind the times. I think of the Buggy whip companies in the nineteenth century, they outlived their usefulness because they never saw the horseless carriage (automobile) coming. Good leaders discern change
A Leadership Deficiency
Did you know that only half the companies that hit the ground running are still in business ten years later, and only about 30% of those will last another five years? It takes strong leadership to achieve longevity because leaders must know how to recognize and navigate change.
Many companies over the years have had excellent managers at the helm, not realizing that there is a difference between managers and leaders, the lack of progress toward their objectives confounds them. Leaders navigate change while keeping the organization moving forward, even when good leaders are in managerial positions there is forward motion.
Don’t Confuse Leadership with Management
“When I was a child, I never played a game called follow the manager” - JSP
When you have an excellent manager in a top leadership position, it can spell trouble in changing environments if that manager doesn’t possess leadership skills. The difference between leaders and managers is in their motivations, gifts and talents.
Leaders cast vision - managers set goals
Leaders develop potential - managers develop systems
Leaders are known for taking risks – good managers control risk
Leaders drive growth – managers keep systems running smoothly
Organizations that achieve longevity understand the value of having excellent leaders and managers in the right positions so, they get the right people on the bus and in the right seats, as Jim Collins would say.
Nokia may have lacked good leaders who think ahead and change with the times, working with excellent managers who can develop the necessary systems to keep things running seamlessly during times of transition.
Leading Through Transition is Not Easy
“He who makes no mistakes, makes no progress.” - Theodore Roosevelt
Seeing trends and challenges on the horizon is important, knowing what needs to be done and when is priceless. Good leaders are lifelong learners who are uncovering and correcting their flaws.
Seven Leadership Qualities That Stand the Test of Time (1)
Quality #1 - Character
Character is more than talk
Talent is a gift, but character is a choice
Character brings lasting success with people
Leaders cannot rise above the limitations of their character
Quality #2 - Commitment
Start in the heart (It’s an inside job)
Is tested by action
Open the door to achievement
Quality #3 - Competence
Show up every day
Follow through with excellence
Accomplish more than expected
Quality #4 - Discernment
Discover the root issues
Enhance your problem solving
Evaluate your options for maximum impact
Quality #5 - Listening
Quality #6 - Problem Solving
They anticipate problems
They accept the truth
They see the big picture
They handle one thing at a time
They don’t give up a major goal when they’re down
Quality #7 - Teachability
Cure your destination disease
Overcome your success
Swear off shortcuts
Trade in your pride
Never pay twice for the same mistake
(1) “The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader” by John C. Maxwell
*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***