Leadership Does Not Simply Refer to the Few Individuals at the Top

Although most companies acknowledge the value of effective leadership as a determinant of their success, many businesses struggle to find the optimal formula for their leadership team.

Leadership does not only refer to the few individuals at the top of the organizational hierarchy. Rather, leaders exist at every level of your company, and those individuals are responsible for driving your vision, instilling your core values and developing their respective teams to achieve your company’s objectives. While many businesses attempt to develop leadership initiatives, effective execution can fall short. Resultantly, an increasing number of companies are investing in consultants to help them develop the right leadership teams, and they are reaping the benefits.

Jessica Parisi is the President & CEO of BTS USA, a global professional services firm supporting world-leading businesses with strategy execution, leadership development, and sales transformation. After working with many of the nation’s Fortune 500, Parisi has found that “leaders have to learn and develop faster than their markets are evolving.” According to Jessica, there are certain essentials that will facilitate the growth and development of your leadership team:

Define Great Leadership

First, “define what great leadership is and create a plan that builds that foundation from the ground up.” For example, many would attribute a great leader with specific attributes like honesty, trustworthiness, confidence, inspiration, optimism, empathy, collaboration and decisiveness. Once you have established your definition, determine the action plan that will provide the best trajectory for you and your team to embody those traits.

“Involve and empower your employees to ensure they are a part of the change, let them co-design the expectations and accountability.” To help your employees fully understand the organization’s overarching vision, it is important to include them in this process and recognize the value of their input. When they contribute to the overall vision, they are more likely to identify as a significant component of the larger picture. Thus, they will be much more inclined to align themselves with the objective and communicate and execute the strategies needed for it to be realized. By empowering your employees to co-design the expectations, they will subsequently hold themselves accountable for the results.

Parisi also advises to deploy your strategies on a global level or don’t deploy them at all. Many companies are wasting time and financial resources by only educating select members of their leadership team or providing training at random. If you cannot consistently provide such education and training across the entire company, at every level, then you’re not effecting change.

Invest in Education and Training

BTS recently developed a case study on SAP and the overall impact of their leadership team after investing in professional development and training. SAP was a dramatically shifting, 87K employee company with a forty-year history. They recognized the need to make an internal change to empower their leaders to lead their transformation from on-premise software to a Cloud environment, powered by HANA. SAP has witnessed firsthand what a great leadership team can do when it has the correct formula in place. Prior to BTS’s services in late 2014, SAP described their leadership development as a “random experience with organizations and individuals who didn’t know what was required to develop. We spent a lot of time individually, but didn’t get a lot of value at the organizational level.” BTS chose both a top-down and ground level up approach that blended instructor-led and virtual tactics for quick impact and influence of 80% of the leadership audience. The success of this model soon followed with employee engagement increasing by 3.11%, overall company trust increasing from 28.5% to 52.13% in 2015, and the financial impact was a 20% increase in net operating profit.

BTS USA also works with 60 of the US Fortune 100 companies, including Coca-Cola and Verizon.

Jessica Parisi reminds us that behind every successful business are the employees who have made it successful, so do not forget the importance of having the right people in place to lead your employees. Your business and your growth depend on it.

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