“Leadership is cause...

cause-and-effect How is your leadership causing sustainable success?

...everything else is effect.”

John Maxwell’s first irrefutable law of leadership (Law of the Lid) states, “Leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness.” It is further reinforced by the title quote credited to Professor Stephen Adei, in 2004. In today’s VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) business environment, effective leadership is paramount to sustainable success in every sector; for-profit, non-profit, private, public, corporate, and entrepreneur. To the extent leaders effectively impact the cause, the more predictable and impactful the effect.

In our upcoming book, Finding the Missing Piece: The Impact of Effective Communications on Sustainable Success, we refer to the answer to a question we often get in our coaching practice around the three things leaders need to know about effective leadership. Our answer is always the same:

  1. Create and communicate a Vision and Strategy
  2. Build a Structure aligned to the Strategy
  3. Disciplined and accountable Execution

In essence, these represent the three levels of effective leadership: Strategic Leadership, Operational Leadership and Tactical Leadership. We will use these three levels of effective leadership to further highlight the importance of leadership cause and effect to creating sustainable success.

  • Strategic Leadership creates a vision and strategy for the organization. The vision is the aspirational purpose of the organization and is becoming even more important to the current modern workforce. While the early days of the recent pandemic created a spike in employee turnover, the ongoing level of employee turnover could be argued is a result of employees feeling disconnected to a meaningful purpose or vision. Strategic leadership is also about creating a strategy that not only directs how the organization will compete in their markets but is also aligned to the organization’s vision. This implies a plan that drives the organization beyond merely waiting for the marketplace to dictate the plan. Better to be the thermostat than the thermometer. Strategic Leadership is the cause, everything else is effect!
  • Operational Leadership builds an operating structure from available and readily obtainable resources that wholly supports, and is aligned to, the strategy. Any strategy without an effective operational structure identifying the people, processes, and tools to support it is not worth the paper it’s printed on. Additionally, any definition of leadership that does not include building teams and core processes around strategy is just as worthless. Operational Leadership is about putting the right people and processes in play such that the organization capacity and capabilities effectively support sustainable success. Operational Leadership cause, everything else is effect!
  • Tactical Leadership creates the goals, metrics, and systems to hold the organization accountable to achieving desired results. It ensures the tactical goals are aligned to the strategy such that different department goals are not at cross purposes with each other and the strategy. Tactical Leadership produces the outputs that feed the systemic outcomes that create the strategic impact outlined in the vision and strategy. Tactical Leadership is the cause, everything else is effect!

Leading change is essentially a binary issue. The leader either drives change within the organization or the organization and their leader become victims of change (change happens to them). When leaders focus on the true cause of sustainable success, then they are clearly in the driver’s seat of change. Everything else is effect!

How is your leadership causing sustainable success? If you don’t know, we can help!

Lead Well!

“I’m too busy.”
You don’t know what you believe...

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Wednesday, 06 July 2022