Leadership in a Global Workplace


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Ask someone to name some management gurus and it’s a pretty safe bet that the name Bob Geldof won’t come top of their list. On the face of it, the rock star who sang about hating Mondays might sound like one of the most unlikely experts on management issues.

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Leadership in a Global Workplace

  1. 1. FOCUS FOCUS Leading with Chief Executive magazine about what the best companies do to develop their Sir Bob Geldof organised Live Aid in a Global leaders. We’ve also had the privilege of Associate Director in 1985 and Live8 in 2005. He has working with the Indian government to Stephen Welch Hay Group UK received an honorary knighthood Workplace identify what makes effective leaders in one of the most diverse and dynamic economies for his humanitarian work, and was in the world. And my colleague, Emmanuel named Man of Peace by winners Gobillot, has recently published his analysis of the Nobel Peace Prize. Sir Bob of the Connected Leader. will be speaking at Hay Group’s International Conference, 9-11 May Another new concept that Hay Group has 2007 in Budapest. been looking into is strategic alignment. In Ask someone to name some management gurus and it’s a pretty safe bet other words, how organisations can ensure that the name Bob Geldof won’t come top of their list. On the face of it, that every one of their employees is pushing in the same direction. the rock star who sang about hating Mondays might sound like one of the most unlikely experts on management issues. Put all these very different pieces of research into the pot and what is interesting is how they paint a surprisingly clear, coherent And yet Geldof’s achievements suggest that Geldof might not look like a corporate picture of how a leader should behave at the he might have a lot to teach us about how leader and not many people could or start of the twenty-first century and how to achieve goals through new leadership would be able to address shareholders and these leaders are going to be different from techniques. After all, here is someone who employees with his colourful language. But previous generations. assembled one of the biggest pop concerts I’ll bet those stakeholders would be pleased in history and – as a result – the way we with the outcomes he achieved. think about Africa, poverty, fund-raising Why traditional management structures and the way rich and poor nations live More interestingly still, the way in which aren’t working alongside each other has never been the Geldof brought about this change of Think about Bob Geldof again. He had same since. thinking and energy of action resonates a belief that the traditional structures for with much of the research we’ve been helping Africa weren’t working and that a lot He did it by anticipating a change in the doing at Hay Group into what makes truly of people in the West were too focused on world environment, working outside exceptional leaders. their own short term goals to create global the formal structures of the economy to leadership. He decided that people could energise people around a shared vision and For the last ten years, Hay Group has make a difference and together, we could using his connected global leadership skills been carrying out research with Fortune create a shared success story. The way he did to create success. magazine into the ingredients for global it was by thinking outside the traditional success. We’ve recently started partnering environment and working outside accepted36 Hay Group 37
  2. 2. Leading in a Global Workplace FOCUS FOCUS structures. He worked in a connected way people operating at the right level are going Sponsored by Bharat Petroleum Corporation, one of India’s to align people around his shared vision. to be so much in demand? leading oil and gas companies, Hay Group carried out an Geldof offers a model for how to be Secondly, millions of baby boomers are intensive year-long study of India’s CEOs. The research successful in a complicated, changing about to retire. Some data suggests that global environment. One of the things half of all senior managers are going to step examined the traits, behaviours and motives of 30 of India’s Hay Group’s research has shown is that down in the next five to ten years. Thirdly, top CEOs. Through extensive interviews in which the whereas at one time companies used to a lot of people in their forties are looking executives spoke in detail of both successful and frustrating enjoy formality and stability, these days the at their work/life balance and saying “I norm is increasingly about change, osmosis could easily work four days a week or go experiences as leaders, our researchers identified four key and efforts to connect people at a human freelance.” areas that set Indian CEOs apart from outstanding top level. So, probably for the first time since the executives in other countries. My colleague, Emmanuel Gobillot, talks Black Death, the limiting factor for in his book about reduced boundaries organisational growth is more likely to be between companies and their consumers. the restricted availability of leaders and Increasingly organisational structures are workers, not resources or consumers. fluid and managers are finding that you can’t succeed by working with the hierarchy Looking beyond your own resources any more. Instead you need to make those These days, many organisations have connections through people. A lot of realised that to achieve their objectives organisations set their managers up with they need to work in partnership with short term targets and goals - this year’s others, without just relying on their own results, next month’s targets or daily crisis. resources. That might mean working with They’ve got to captain their little boat and other organisations and even competitors. because it’s very hard for them to see the Leaders therefore need to work hard not to big picture, they forget where the whole just focus their own resources but persuade armada is going. others to achieve objectives. Now it’s not so much command and control as support That’s understandable, but there are and succeed. changes in society that threaten to sink that little boat unless managers accept them and We will see even greater flattening of embrace them. Firstly, research in India, structures and changing of boundaries. China and South Africa, for instance, The blurring and changing of organisation reveals that there will be a shortage of talent boundaries, coupled with the need to react in these fast growing markets. How can to the pace of change, means that global organisations deliver that growth when leaders need to behave differently. It is 38 Hay Group 39
  3. 3. Leading in a Global Workplace FOCUS FOCUS In the twenty-first century it’s not a case of India catching up with the rest of the world, it’s a case of the rest of the world catching up with India. less about the formal organisation and hard bit - you don’t ask for weekly reports more about the informal: adding value by and keep on at them. Too many control working through relationships and people, mechanisms are a sure sign of a badly rather than functions and processes. aligned organisation with disconnected leaders. As I mentioned earlier, Hay Group recently So these are the two ingredients for success A connected leader in action: worked with the government of India One connected leader we work with in the twenty-first century: the aligned “My biggest work challenge was when, for to identify what was required to be a describes it as ‘tight-loose-tight’. In other organisation and the connected leader. the first time, I had more than one layer of successful leader in this fast moving market. words, you are tight around the top - the management and I could not just go into We discovered that four things are needed: mission or the vision of your organisation These are challenging concepts but as the everyone’s office. Suddenly I had to work and very tight along the deliverable aspect world continues to change faster than ever through others. If you don’t acquire that  Socially responsible business excellence at the end of the process, but how people and our relationship with the organisations skill you are limited in your ability to drive  Ability to energise the team get there, how they set up and manage we work for evolves too, they are challenges that no leader and company can avoid. a large organisation.”  Skills in managing the environment things is left loose. Working in this way turned Bob Geldof  Inner strength from being a band leader to a world leader Jean-Paul Garnier, CEO, GlaxoSmithKline Secondly, there is the question of purpose. What we’re now seeing is that those traits Connected leaders give meaning to and there are similar potential rewards Source: Financial Times, 13 Nov 2006 in business leaders are becoming more relationships by uniting stakeholders available to leaders in business who behave and more important, not just in India but around a shared agenda or purpose. It’s in the right way. around the whole world. In the twenty- important to remember that consent is first century it’s not a case of India catching not alignment. Some organisations think up with the rest of the world, it’s a case that agreement is the same as alignment, of the rest of the world catching up with speed is the same as progress and strategic India. execution simply means operational delivery. The best leaders and the best Our research says that leaders need to get companies know the difference. three simple things right: trust, purpose and dialogue. Thirdly, dialogue. Connected leaders encourage dialogue as a way of engaging Trust, purpose and dialogue people, getting their alignment and Many business leaders have a problem creating a human link with another with trust. For example, if you have a person - be they a colleague, a customer local office in Brazil you can either tell the or a competitor. This means working people there in detail how to do the job or beyond conventional boundaries and you can outline the general principles, give developing new relationships with anyone them some coaching and support and let and everyone who can contribute towards them get on with it. Then - and this is the achieving a successful outcome. 40 Hay Group 41