Lost In Transmission
I recently read two very interesting books, one on Elon Musk, the founder CEO of Tesla and the other titled “ The Founders Mentality”.
One of the things the book on Musk talks about his passion for his vision and how he expects every single employee in his firm to be equally passionate about it.
The Founders Mentality looks at firms that have stalled in their growth. It puts forth a credible case on how the primary reason is purely internal to the firm. The book talks about how firms have ensured sustained success by inculcating what the authors call a Founders mentality within its leadership team.
In both the above cases, the founder CEO very clearly expects that his leaders be equally or more passionate about his firm, its vision and its mission. They need to show a level of ownership and accountability that is equal to or greater than the founder CEO. They need to be extremely clear on the guiding principles to be adhered to.
As leaders leading teams, business units or firms, we all do expect that our levels of commitment and passion in the context of what we want to achieve are exhibited by our leadership teams as well. In the process, we also expect that they follow the guiding principles as well which are typically driven from the values and culture that the firm stands for.
Now sample some of these –
“I have such an exciting vision for the business but my leadership team just doesn’t get it!!! “
“I have created such innovative recognition mechanisms but my leadership team doesn’t seem to be motivated to put in their 200% and go after the goals I wish to achieve”
“I have hired extremely capable leaders for this mission but for some reason I am not seeing the desired results”
“I have given so much empowerment to my leadership team but I fail to understand why they don’t be bold and take decisions”
“I work 24×7 to make things happen for my unit but my leadership team still has a 9 to 5 mentality”
“This program I am leading is so critical for the firm, it is so evident that the success of this program is critical for the future of the firm and yet my leadership team doesn’t seem to showing the same sense of paranoia about it”
Sounds familiar? I bet it does.
It is a fact that many leaders struggle to transmit their vision, values, enthusiasm, passion and commitment to their teams. I call these Transmission and Distribution Losses (or TLD as the acronym goes in the Power Generation sector).
There are many obvious reasons why this happens but let us look at a few through some reel and real life examples:-
- In the first Avengers movie, there is a moment when the Avengers discover that Nick Fury, the director of SHIELD intends to use the power of the Tesseract to develop powerful weapons. Some of the Avengers are uncomfortable with this mission and start having doubts about working on the Avengers program for SHIELD. Nick Fury clearly hasn’t told them the entire story. He operates on a need to know basis. Clearly, Nick Fury has trust issues. How many leaders have we seen who seem to have similar issues? Fortunately for Fury, the Avengers align when he admits to the truth and explains the importance of the mission. But in real life, many leaders are not so fortunate.
- We have the very familiar example of the battle of Kurukshetra in the Mahabharata where Arjuna, one of the key leaders of the Pandavas starts having self-doubts about the mission just before the war with the Kauravas. That is when Krishna takes the time out to clear his doubts in what we know today as the Bhagavad Gita.
- There is the example of the HP board selecting Carly Fiorina to lead a mission to turn around the firm but “the HP way” and Fiorina’s way were not aligned and everyone knows what happened as a result.
The above three examples do provide us with some insights on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to TLD. I am sure there will be many other such interesting examples and I look forward to many more such examples being shared by you all.
I had a really great response to my previous blog on appraisals. There were so many interesting ideas, comments and suggestions that came in. I am sure that this topic will also generate a lot of debate and discussion so do keep the inputs coming!!
Image Credits: www.fotolibra.com