Every year we start with good intentions whereby we mainly look at ourselves, and every year the good intentions disappear like snow in the sun. Having intentions then becomes like writing in the snow. When the sun breaks through and the weather feels more pleasant, we arrive in our comfort zone. At that moment we forget our intentions and switch to the daily business. As soon the winter has started again, new intentions will come.
We see the same phenomenon at companies. At the end of the year, the budgets are re-determined, together with the goals to which it will be spent. In the second quarter, the company cuts her financial expenses and will switch to survival mode. At the end of the year, it is determined that a number of goals have not been achieved and new plans and budgets for the new year are coming up again.
Leadership arises when we start thinking and it becomes a reality when we proceed to execution. The stage to showing leadership is crucial, since this is the stage where leadership is born and becomes mature. We see enough aspiring leaders and organisations dying before their leadership becomes a reality. In addition, there are plenty of examples of leaders who have risen too early and falter. Steve Jobs, for example, in his early years was busy realising his dream. He succeeded by trial and error. In the period where he started to stand on his own two feet, he had to leave Apple. The period that followed saw him becoming more aware of his ambitions in a quieter environment. The result is that he returns to Apple as a true leader, where he knows his strengths and knows how to exploit his competitive advantages. As a leader, he taught Apple to develop into a leading company. This offers Tim Cook the opportunity to grow as a leader. You can still see him faltering, but he slowly learns about his strengths and knows how to get competitive benefits from it.
What does this tell us about leadership?
Leadership can reside in both people and organisations. Both start with good intentions to change, it can create added value or pursue the goal of realising an innovation. They look at themselves at first, just like babies and small children. They are not yet concerned with whether it contributes to the environment or ecosystem. In this phase, people only think of opportunities, without considering the purpose. This visual thinking stage is still a dream that needs to be worked out during the concept stage. Nevertheless, budgets are already set based on these concepts. During the first two thinking stages, the future leader looks at his ambition and strengths, from which the competitive benefits arise when the scenarios are worked out.
In the initial phase leaders have a blurred picture of the opportunities related to the dream. The dream unknowingly is born from their own ambitions. The more they become aware of their ambitions, the more opportunities are being realised to be transformed into ideas.
We often see that people or organisations start designing ideas too quickly without looking from where the idea originates or whether it suits them. There are countless examples in the world of mergers and acquisitions that didn’t succeed. Often, after about 3 years after such a merger or acquisition, little or none of their combined competitive advantages remain.
From personal experience in counseling companies, I notice that as organisations become aware of their ambition and strengths, the use of their competitive advantages works as a catalyst. The awareness gives them insight into what they stand for, so what they do or do not want to do. They consciously set to work from there, so that their added value is immediately used as a competitive advantage.
Many companies I work with are searching for their own identity and ambition. To gain insight into this, I first bring them back to their dream so that they can gain insight into their ambition. In the elaboration of the scenarios, they see what their strengths are and they consciously choose the right scenario, whereby their competitive advantages become visible. After this they grow into leading organisations.
Leadership is a growth process which is comparable to the development of every person or animal. In itself not strange, since it follows the growth and development curve of a living entity. In this case you can consider a living being as an entity that knows how to develop, adapt or influence its environment. In addition, anyone can become a leader if this entity knows how to turn the dream into reality, but should the aspiring leader write in the snow, the dream will disappear like snow in the sun.
A dream becomes reality when the leader has the ambition to work for it. When the leader fully uses his energy to achieve the goal, then his passion will become the force that leads to success. An awareness of ambition and the energy flowing from it will determine different scenarios for designing the process. The organisation then considers appropriate resources to match the ambition and thus the power of the leader.
The recipe for success will emerge from a balanced diversity that reinforces the strength of the leader and derives strength from it. . This collaborative ambition provides a powerful scenario, built from a renewed composition of available resources.
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