Today I want to address a third characteristic of an excellent organisation, which I call “Leadership with a clear purpose”.
Research and observations suggest that within the truly excellent organisation there exists, and that over a prolonged period, a leadership that has a very clear understanding of the purpose of the organisation that it leads, and which turns that clarity of purpose into supporting and complementing action. This does not exist just at the top of the organisation but throughout it. Leaders in these excellent organisations generate clear statements of intent, direct the development of a clear and integrated strategy and demonstrate that clarity of purpose in everyday actions. They focus on the long rather than solely the short term, communicative and inspire, and are personally rooted in, and demonstrate values that are respected and admired.
One particular aspect where the research findings are particularly interesting in my view is the explosion of the myth that only charismatic people make great leaders. For example, the work of Jim Collins and others at Harvard demonstrates conclusively that many truly excellent organisations are led by people who are hardly known outside their organisation, and who personally can be fairly reticent and even shy. But they, in common with all truly effective leaders have a clear sense of the purpose of the organisations they lead and a commitment and tenacity to the realisation of it, whatever it takes and for as long as is needed. Are you one of them?