Helping professional service businesses and independent professionals attract more clients, do better business and find that "balance" that has continued to elude them. Learn a new way of doing business and transform your strategy into results. It all starts with a vision - so Be BOLD!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Management versus Leadership

Do you know the difference between Management and Leadership?

Below are distinctions between management and leadership and a few features each tends to emphasize.

1. One who leads or guides others to destinations they would not go alone.
2. Vision & Inspiration
3. Leadership of people
4. Effectiveness “doing the right things”

1. One who handles, or directs
2. Control
3. Management of things, resources, schedules
4. Efficiency “doing the things right”

Most people have a higher comfort level for management tasks, and I don’t mean only the management of staff. I mean the overall, day-to-day function of managing and doing 'things'.

I also believe that most organizations are “Managed” and that few are actually well-led. This is a key reason why many businesses are unable to break away from the pack, to differentiate and to see the big success they know should be possible.

You may be limiting your own success and that of your business, not for the lack of motivation or the lack of management skills. You may be limiting your growth by the lack of a strategic vision; by not “seeing” your organization thriving and reaching new levels of performance.

It has been proven that having a strategic vision adds real power to setting directions, motivating action, and guiding the decisions you make. Why then do so many organizations shy away making the visionary process part of their normal planning? Perhaps they are uncomfortable with a process they view as a “foo-foo” or “touchy-feely”. Or, perhaps they consider strategic vision to be impractical, too intangible or based on “fantasy”.

When done with precision, a strategic vision is intensely practical, reflects your values and ideals and is based on facts. Things to consider when framing your strategic vision include:

Scale – How big do you want to be?
Scope – What business expansions / contractions do you want in the future? Products, services, industries, locations, special niche focus, etc.
Competitive Focus – Differentiation between your offering your competition. Remember your competition includes businesses that are competing for your customers’ dollars, not necessarily providing the same products and services.
Image and Relationships, A.K.A. “Brand” – How do you want others to “see” you? What image do you want to project?
Organization and Culture – What are the underlying values that will guide your organization’s behavior and reputation? To what extent do you want to consider strategic alliances with other institutions?

Right now, take a few moments to envision 12 months into the future. Your business, your service or product, your life; describe them as if you were painting a picture or telling a story. Where are the results you will have achieved 12-months from now to have made this possible? Think about where you want the scale, the scope, the competitive focus, the brand, and the culture of your organization to look like or be at the end of 2006. Create your strategic vision. It doesn't need to be lengthy or eloquently phrased pros. Just write something that gives a clear picture of what you want your organization or business to become. This will give you the direction and sense of purpose that will guide your day-to-day decisions and actions, as well as those of your employees. Leverage your future to grow your present.

Until next time – Bold Results start with a Bold Vision! Go out there and Be Bold!

(The inspiration for this article came from a 1996 speech by Ian Wilson, in June, 2000. Thank you, Ian.)