Thursday, 6 November 2014

Leadership Challenge to Venture

Great Leadership Inspires Entrepreneurial Talents

Today’s competitive and dynamic realities demand organisations to draw on the imaginations and brainpower of all their people, encouraging them to innovate and improvise quickly and rewarding them for their initiative and entrepreneurial spirit.    

Technology and globalization are forces creating the new competitive Talentscape. Where once a firm operated within well-defined industry boundaries, with a clear idea of competitors, now both competitors and substitutes are not clearly defined, and they can come from anywhere, any industry, and any nation. To navigate in this environment, organisations need talents with strategic flexibility, mentored and molded by leadership and vision. They need to develop the dynamic core competencies to create and re-create innovations of all kinds, especially as they seek to compete in “blue oceans” where traditionally-defined competitors do not exist at all.

The first decades of the 21st century are full of hitherto successful companies and organisations with the “inability to escape the past” or the “failure to create a new future”, or both. Trapped in their vainglorious past with no coherent pictures of possible futures, many organizations languished in the self-deluding hope that the new competitive trends, powered by rapid advances in information technology, new life-styles and new forms of organizations, will be merely passing fads that would eventually fizzle out.   Disappointments in the throes of oblivion will be their only certainties.

Unable to escape the past, many organizations retreat to the comfort of:
·         unparallel track record of successes
·         that enable the accumulation of abundant resources
·         and aligning expectations and performance
·         in the belief that resources will win out.
·         They substitute creativity with more resources, and
are contented with current performance.

And yet others failed to create a new future by:
·         optimising business systems
·         with time-tested recipes
·         whose past successes confirmed strategy
·         but are now vulnerable to the new realities
·         because they mistook momentum for leadership, and
did not re-invent visionary leadership for current relevance.

Welcome the future Everyday! Yes, the future is today … and tomorrow, well, is already yesterday.  Sounds confusing?  You are not alone. The turbulent environments such as the new competitive landscape have in effect created widespread paradoxical conditions in the old mindsets.  One such condition is “The Red Queen” effect, after the Red Queen in the Alice in Wonderland story, where one has to run increasingly faster just to stay put or maintain one’s current position.

A seed change in mindset will reveal that technology is not a tool, but an “environment” and it impacts competition by disrupting the “time-space” canvas in that environment to create “time-savings” using new media and IT apps.

Competition has become a series of races to overcome the next hurdle and invent the ever-more-useful product.  The focus is on the development of the dynamic core competency of inventing new products faster or better than others or at a rate faster than most.  Or, better still, to side-step the competitors in the “red ocean” and create a non-competing Alternative innovation in the “blue ocean”.

Often lost in the new strategy matric-space, many desperate companies conveniently resorted to the “big is beautiful” solution of the 1970s’ and 1980’s to repeat the spate of familiar high-stake mergers and acquisitive alliances.  Others are stunned into reviewing their “core competencies” and rapidly discarded those businesses which they do not consider “core”, never mind profitable or not, according to some historical criteria. These measures have limited effectiveness, and they are also grossly misdirected in addressing and engaging the onslaught of new wave competitive realities and mindsets.

These companies are often slow-moving and uninspiring places to work because they are obsessed with bureaucratic red-tape and internal politics, and therefore unable to deliver the high expectations which their past successes engendered.

With many companies falling heads over heels in grasping effectively with the new competition, why would those who consider themselves talented want to work for them?    Indeed, why should one desire to be an employee when one’s talents could propel him or her to be an entrepreneur and become an employer instead?

Entrepreneurship has always been a key driver of innovation, growth and economic prosperity of a growing nation. More than 95% of Fortune magazine’s Top 200 companies in the USA can be traced to entrepreneurial founders. In today’s turbulent environment so fraught with uncertainties and improbabilities, the entrepreneurial revolution is gathering unstoppable momentum as the entrepreneurial Talent becomes the only viable entity to thrive in such an environment.
Entrepreneurship attracts particularly the talented because it offers tremendous opportunities for rapid learning to make significant personal impact. Often, the lessons from the inevitable failures during the entrepreneurial journey produce a profound sense of ownership that that fuses vision and commitment to produce the ultimate performance that exceeds initial expectations.

Entrepreneurship is not a passing fad. Nor does it fall out of flavour because of the crash of numerous dotcoms and internet companies. In any case, the vast majority of entrepreneurial startups are neither dotcoms nor internet companies.

Entrepreneurs build entrepreneurial organizations.  The attraction drawing the talented towards entrepreneurial startups goes beyond the promise of fast-cash rewards. 

Entrepreneurial organizations are those whose corporate culture embraces the art of continuous innovation, defined as the ability to constantly discover, create, capture, and exploit new opportunities.   The new competitive realities demanding the exploration of new opportunities are increasingly vital for business success, especially innovations that renew organizations, products and services.  

Innovations are driven by the synergy of thinking that is empowered by the interaction of people with diverse knowledge, disciplines, experiences, and values. The continuous sharing of new knowledge defines the heart of most innovations, through the essence of collaboration and learning.  

At the core of the new organizations that will best engage and embrace the new competitive realities is the ability to innovate and grow.  Great leaders are therefore needed for their visions to build inspiring companies that would endure beyond the 21st century.  

The call to venture outside the comfort box and build entrepreneurial organizations is thus the greatest challenge facing Leadership and Talent; and especially for those who are willing and daring enough to offer leadership to infuse a sense of common future purpose in order to appeal to a growing 21st century Millennial workforce who is imbued and driven by the entrepreneurial spirit.

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