We go to business school to learn all the right skills, but what are the right skills? Of course we all need to know the fundamentals of basic business management, but what about those critical, but less obvious, competencies that global executives must know in order to succeed? What are those essential skills not taught in business school that often cause high potential leaders to derail and never achieve their potential? Here are a few important aspects of global leadership that are not taught in business school:
1) How To Create A Global Vision:
“The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizon are limited by obvious realities. We need men and women who can dream of things that never were.” ~ John F. Kennedy
The problem with this statement is that many global leaders do not know how to create a vision, do not realize how very vital it is to the success of their organization, nor what to do with the vision once they have finally figured it out. Here are a few simple tips:
- Work backward from your imagination, rather than forward from your past – the old adage, “What got you here, will not get you there” is an absolute truth.
- Remember that whatever you can imagine, you can accomplish
- Ask yourself some revealing questions as you develop your vision:
- What is an enormous strategic opportunity within your domain/organization/industry?
- What would change your business and your clients business forever?
- What is missing that would truly revolutionize the products/services/processes/etc.? (Think Apple, Netflix, Facebook…)
- What will take your company/domain from status quo to breakthrough?
- What are you so passionate about that you would be willing to transform not only your company, but yourself?
- Think through and understand what it is going to require of you and the organization to realize the vision: Realistically ensure the benefits outweigh the costs
- Document and Publish an explicit, living, breathing, step by step plan that senior leaders, peers and staff can buy into and share ownership.
2) How to Execute With A Results Orientation
They don’t teach the dogged determination that creates the ability to execute in business school, but this quality is more important in making people successful and in executing in global business than any other. However, if that is all it takes to execute, why do so many executives lack this ability? Because there is no system, formula, strategy, or tactical plan behind the vision – there is a weak results orientation and a lack of process knowledge to support forward movement (aside from a few additional factors we will cover next week). Naturally, it is important to begin with the end in mind, but many executives are so focused on the end, they end up chasing their tails and accomplishing little. Here are some straight forward ways for executives to facilitate their ability to execute:
- Focus on the process, not the prize – concentrate on what will produce the results, rather than the results themselves.
- Get and stay connected – identify key strategic partners that can help you get where you want to go and consistently engage.
- Have both a tactical and a strategic plan.
- Execute one step at a time – By the inch it’s a cinch, by the yard it will be hard.
- Consistently engage ALL key players across boundaries & borders – without the buy-in and commitment of critical resources you will never succeed.
- Listen, don’t just hear – listen to what your subject matter experts are telling you and remain flexible in your gameplan.
- Incorporate strict accountability measures – if no one is openly accountable, little will get done.
3) How To Network For Success
There is great power in knowing you can reach out to your network whenever you have a problem to solve, to be able to reach key influencers at conferences and meetings, to make an impression on audiences, to project confidence and trustworthiness, and to make friends with other successful people. The ability to connect on many levels is essential to success in global business – in fact many top executives say networking is one of the top reasons for their success. Surrounding yourself with successful and intelligent people will allow you to consistently think smarter, as well as having access to brilliant people that will support your objectives and provide valuable insights. Networking presents opportunities to interact on a personal level and to develop profitable relationships. Most people have a reluctance to connect with strangers, however in business talking to strangers is essential and the only effective way to generate interest and support for what you do. It is so easy to stay within your controlled environment, however if you only talk to people you already know, you will miss significant opportunities to make new connections, establish valuable connections, and position yourself for success.
The greatest people in business have certain attributes in common. Some are natural gifts, others are learned attributes. Beyond personal qualities –
Can we prevent the derailment of high potential global leaders through the acquisition of critical skills not taught in business school?
Please feel free to contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next week for Part 2 of “Business School or School of Hard Knocks?”