Thursday, January 29, 2009

10 Mantras for Emerging Leaders in 2009

Vineet Nayar wrote a nice article in Harvard Business Publishing, called 10 Mantras for Emerging Leaders in 2009, where he said "with the challenges facing businesses today--versus even six months ago--emerging leaders find little solace in the best practices that have worked so far." He has put together 10 mantras that might guide us ahead:

1 - Listen to the Cry for Accountability
Across the world of business, there is a blood cry for 'accountability'. With the most revered role models run aground--and more being bailed out--it is high time we open our windows to let the feedback in, even though we know it will not be pretty.

2 - Get into the trenches
Emerging leaders are moving up to the top floors. To corner suites. Away from the shop floors and the real action. We need to roll up our sleeves and get back into the trenches. I cannot repeat myself often enough - we need to demolish the 'CEO office'. We need to break down the walls of hierarchy, for our future role as leaders is not about leading from the top, but co-innovating at the front lines.

3 - Get emotional
With the increasing commoditization of people as "resources selling time," we risk not seeing people as individuals any more. And these individuals - employees and customers alike - are hurting and wary of the future. As leaders, we need to feel their pain and find the right solution. We need to understand the real pain points of our customers and help them find real solutions to their business problems.

4 - Chase the rainbow
As everyone watches the thunder, emerging leaders are the ones who will look hard into the dark and spot the light at the end of the tunnel. There is a rainbow waiting to break out, and abundant opportunities beyond. The sooner you spot it the greater the advantage your organization can reap.

5 - From Me to We
Collaboration is the need of the hour. The world needs the collective strength of all countries, organizations and individuals to pull together today.

6 - Nimble feet
The world will continue to flirt with unpredictability for a while ahead. As leaders, we need to stay agile, alert and nimble footed to change tactics mid-course with our eyes unwavering from the goal.

7 - Keep it Simple
The sub-prime crisis has made the world wary of complex financial instruments and foggy conditions. Somewhere along the way, complexity has gained respect in the world of business. It is time to wipe the mist off the glass and master the art of converting complexity into simplicity.

8 - Ask the right questions
Leadership today has changed from providing all the answers to asking the right questions. Keep an open mind and let fresh minds provide you with fresh ideas.

9 - Adapt to the new work order
Business today works across geographical borders on the back of a cross-culture, cross-currency, cross-product, cross-time zones workforce. So in 2009, emerging leaders will have to adapt to the reality of time zones, to multiple cultures, multiple currencies, multiple pricing.

10 - Yes we can
I think we have all realized by now that there are no question marks about this. Change comes to those who believe in it. As leaders, our greatest responsibility is to bring back confidence and the forward momentum and catalyze the positive energy of our people today to light the way to a brighter tomorrow.

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