Management – Exceptional Leadership

Has management shown exceptional leadership?
A. No. Leadership is a real problem for us.
B. We have made some progress, but change is very hard.
C. We have made reasonably good progress.
D. We have made excellent progress.
E. We have achieved transformational change through exceptional leadership that has dramatically changed the existing organisational culture and introduced new attitudes and behaviours in all employees.
[Score:  A=0, B=1, C=2, D=3 and E=4]
Why is this question important?

We have previously seen the importance of two vital ‘intangible assets’ – ‘human capital’ and ‘information capital’ – to strategic internal processes.

To complement this alignment senior management must also develop ‘organisational capital’ – i.e.  the ability of the organisation to mobilise and sustain the process of change required to execute the strategy.

A business with high ‘organisational capital’ has a shared understanding of vision, mission, values, is strongly led, has created a performance culture around the strategy, and shares knowledge up, down and across the business so that everyone works together and in the same direction.

Organisational capital is typically built on 4 components:


Awareness and internalisation of the mission, vision, and core values needed to execute the strategy:

  • strategy nearly always requires basic changes in the way business is done
  • strategy must be executed through individuals at all levels in the organisation, and hence
  • new attitudes and behaviours – culture – will be required throughout the workforce

Most strategies require dramatic change in a company’s existing culture.  The leadership team must introduce new attitudes and behaviours in all employees of the new strategy is to be successful


Availability of qualified leaders at all levels to mobilise the organisation toward its strategy.  Desired leadership competencies can be categorised:

  • creates value – the leader delivers bottom-line results
  • executes and implements strategy – the leader mobilises and guides the process of change
  • develops human capital – the leader builds competencies and sets high standards for the organisation


Individual, team and department goals and incentives linked to attainment of strategic objectives. Successful strategy implementation requires alignment, when all members of a team have a commonality of purpose, a shared vision and an understanding of how their personal rols support the overall strategy.


Knowledge with strategic potential shared throughout the organisation.  No asset has greater potential for an organisation than the collective knowledge possessed by all employees.



The first step to developing an organisational capital is to define the change agenda implied by the broader strategy – this generally falls into 2 categories:

Behavioural changes required to create value for customers (& shareholders):

  • focus on the customer
  • be creative and innovative
  • deliver results

Behavioural changes required to execute the strategy:

  • understand the mission, vision, strategy and values
  • create accountability
  • communicate openly
  • work as a team

Exceptional Leadership

We take it for granted that leaders have good communication skills, can motivate people and get results.  In any business, exceptional leadership skills are needed in order to succeed. Whether you own the business, manage it or are an employee looking to make his or her way up the corporate ladder, the right leadership style is essential in order to reach your goals. Well-honed leadership skills are the most important component of being a success in the business world.


A true leader is prepared to go out on a limb to get results. Be prepared to face difficult or risky situations with resolution, self-possession and confidence.


Decisiveness is an exercise in good judgement, affording well-informed, fast and sound decisions when needed from a leader, but it is not to be confused with inflexibility.

Decisiveness is an important rule in leadership – the decisions you are willing to make will have a direct impact on how you’re accepted as a leader. Deciding by going with your gut feeling or intuition wouldn’t hurt either.


Have a clear purpose and be able to paint a picture of your vision to others.


Why should I follow you? What makes it worth my while? Identify what motivates your followers and capitalise on it. Take notice of their level of willingness to follow you, and adjust your behaviour, communication and example-setting to build their willingness.


“I lead by serving, I serve by leading”. Serving in a leadership context is a two way street.


Present compelling arguments in favour of your cause, idea or policy. Great leaders are inspirational when talking about or debating their cause.


Sometimes it’s tough; sometimes it feels like any decision you make is full of pitfalls, but as a leader you have to make decisions. So make your decisions with conviction, display confidence in your decisions, take ownership of them and follow them through to implementation.


Technology has opened up new avenues for communicating and working in today’s work force. Today’s business environment benefits greatly from a culture of collaboration within your business and across all departments, both internally and externally. The Internet makes this extremely easy to do at a very low cost.


As a leader, adaptability means reacting in an effective manner to shifting circumstances in your business environment.


Entrepreneurs show agility, speed of response and independence of thinking, driven by the awareness of threat from competition or market conditions.  An entrepreneurial leader harnesses this sense of urgency to get results.  Leaders with this attribute dream big dreams and achieve big goals.