7/18/12

Leadership In Action

Christmas In July (Part 8)



Through this series, we have been following the owner of S and Company as he implements his Christmas in July initiatives. He has now engaged everyone in the company and outlined the market opportunity he sees, but knows success will never come on autopilot.

He has always loved history and learning about the great leaders of the past and present, gaining an understanding of what set them apart from all others. As he thought about them, there were several traits that became apparent.

Those leaders were connected with and engaged the people who followed them. While there was hierarchy it did not get in the way of relationships.

Their followers were loyal and willing to pursue the objectives they set because respect, trust and alignment to mission had been earned. The respect, trust and alignment were mutual.

Those leaders communicated directly making each person feel that they spoke directly to them.

Those leaders brought people at every level into tactical and strategic plans with each person having ownership in the success of the objective.

The leaders demonstrated a thirst and drive for the win, not for their own glory but for everyone participating individually and as a group.

He had to lead. This was not something to be delegated. As the company had grown and there were more layers, he found himself heavily engaged in the administrative and financial side of the business, harnessed to the enterprise. A lot of his interaction was with a very small group even though he had always stated an open door policy. His communications had become “State of the Company” and communications which were one way via the company communications channels.

Sure he was at each awards ceremony, welcomed new people at orientation and tried to squeeze time in to walk around and talk to people but none of this really made him feel engaged. Creating the peer representative group really felt great and was invigorating. He had been surprised that many of them felt that he had been “untouchable” with access restricted by a number of gatekeepers.

The speech given by George S. Patton the day before D Day came to mind. He was never thought of himself as a desk commando but a man of action, inspiration and leadership. It brought back memories of when the company had been small and struggling where he was hands-on and motivating people without money.

He felt the excitement building. He had the traits; some had become dormant over the years or grown a bit soft. It was time to really bring these out. Like a commander looking at maps of the battlefront, he devoured all of the information and ideas that had been put together in the initial strategy meeting that he had called Gifts In The Market. Rather than presenting this through others in many small meetings, he decided that he needed to present it “Patton” style.

A venue was secured that could hold the whole company with large screens. It would not be a long meeting but would give the platform to launch the initiative and personally speak to each person. He decided that it would be an early morning meeting. Buses would be available from each location to bring teams to the meeting that was titled Market Assault. Very little additional information was given as to the content of the meeting. He went to work on what he would say, how it would be presented and how he would work to engage each person.

Sure it was going to cost a little bit but the rewards and the timing would make it all worthwhile. The Christmas in July Initiatives would be launched in with panache, style and strength. This was a win-win that would allow the company to accelerate the dollars in December goals.

All managers and division leaders were tasked to make this a success in terms of attendance as well as all of the components that would follow to ensure momentum.

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