In caricature, this is a 3-point strategy to develop further. It’s a simple mental and practical frame.
- Build an overwhelming, compelling, strategic narrative. Excuse my language. The line contains:
- Overwhelming: not good, excellent, nice and clever, solid, well thought out, interesting, new. No. Overwhelming. If it does not feel like this, think twice.
- Compelling: the above needs to trigger ‘ I want to be there’ or ‘part of it’. The case for it (whether it is) is now overwhelming and compelling.
- Strategic: rule out changing the oil of the car for the next six months, as your transport strategy.
- Narrative: tell me the story, not the bullet points.
- Respond tactically. Don’t waste time giving an explanation to every single push-back and ‘yes but’, because you’ll spend your life doing it. If you ‘respond’ and ‘tell me the barriers’ air time is bigger than the building of the future, there is something wrong in that culture.
- Above all, set the agenda. Don’t let other agendas come in. Be ahead of the game. Resistant people, ‘yes but’ people, enemies and other people determined to torpedo, need to catch up with you, not the other way around.
None of the above contains ‘having all of the answers’. It is perfectly possible to create an overwhelming strategy, a great narrative, respond tactically and, above all, set the agenda and still say, come with me, we don’t have an absolutely fixed destination, but I can assure you that you will not regret the journey.
By the way, I have not totally invented the three points above. But they come from the political campaigning arena, not from the MBA.
As I have repeated like a parrot, the answers to modern business leadership come from non-business-places. Political campaigning (the good ones) is a good example. It used to be the other way around. ‘Business experienced’ people were supposed to bring lots of expertise to the socio-political arena. And that was flattering for ‘business’. I think that this is today very naïve.
Camino – Leadership Notes On The Road
Available from all major online bookstores
A collection of notes on leadership, initially written as Daily Thoughts. Camino, the Spanish for road, or way, reflects on leadership as a praxis that continuously evolves. Nobody is ever a leader. Becoming one is the real quest. But we never reach the destination. Our character is constantly shaped by places and journeys, encounters and experiences. The only real theory of leadership is travelling. The only footprints, our actions. The only test, what we leave behind.