Mountain Guides teach us about Leadership
Mountain guides seem to be unlikely sources for business leaders to be provided management training. Yet, they possess certain skills, if properly applied into business, can prove to be a winning combination. One of them is the demonstration of social intelligence that mountain guides constantly need to display in order to work with and motivate a diverse set of unknown people. Their leadership style is also flexible, so they can customize as per the target group’s requirements or background. Another quality that business leaders must imbibe form mountain guides is talent management as it is remarkable how the latter empower their trainees to go through certain drills they wouldn’t have had the confidence to execute otherwise. This the guides do using enormous amount of trust. They also manage to work efficiently and smoothly within an atmosphere of potentially enormous risk or uncertainly. Finally, mountain guides are experts at seeing the bigger picture. This business leaders must be able to do so that they may envision the future and not micromanage minute tasks.
The Fundamental differences between Leadership and Management
There is a clear separation between leadership and management. Visionary leadership is required to put forth a top-botch corporate strategy but the execution of the same needs to be carried out by the management team. Rarely do individuals possess both these qualities. The leadership needs to chalk out and then define the company’s vision and mission. It needs to make sure that the talent recruitment is in line with the vision articulated. The leadership must also strive to keep the team members motivated. The management team on the other hand must put the mission statement into action to manage change. Post recruitment, it must staff the right people depending on their fit. It needs to organize all the processes and then draft the budget accordingly. The management must also proactively control the processes without stifling innovation and troubleshoot whenever crises occur.
When was the last time you took on a New Challenge?
There is a segment of population termed as “super-agers”. These are the kind of people who in spite of being in their eighties, retain the memory of people a third their age. Research has found out that the reason for this is they engage in difficult physical or mental tasks. In fact a little over a third of the respondents in that category confirmed that what kept them engaged was some sport or similar physical activity. Three-fifths of the respondents even claimed that what kept them active was starting something new in the last two years. Men outnumbered women in this category by a small margin. A third of respondents even claimed to devote ten hours or more to this new activity per week. Some also confessed that part of the charm for this new activity was that it was outside their usual comfort zone. This revelation can even be used in the corporate world where a new skill maybe beneficial to executing their daily tasks better. Mastering hard to comprehend activities can even spur creativity leading to the development of business innovations. While there may not be a direct link between an official task of coding software with learning a new language, this self-challenge may be beneficial to developing better colleague relationships or improving productivity.
We can all Learn from Travis Kalanick’s troubles and willingness to Change
A major lesson can learned from Uber founder CEO Travis Kalanick’s recent struggles. He is being vilified in the media as a management novice. He has come out and addressed some of the concerns in his company, yet a lot of the criticism has been over-the-top. The problems Kalanick and Uber have faced are quite common place, except that here they got magnified due to the enormous scale now of the company. A lot of startups originate with small, compact teams whose founders have a certain innovative idea to disrupt the existing players. Uber managed to not only disrupt the market, but to actually tilt it completely in its model’s favour. A leaf can be taken out of the world of business consulting where one of its giants the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) had earned a bad reputation for its super-aggressive talent recruitment of management graduates. It was viewed as a way to simply maximize incomes, but eventually the company relented, took up measures to give back to society in a meaningful way and is now considered a highly respectable brand. Other great entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs and Larry Page have all faced such situation and deftly turned around the corner.