Soul Driven Leadership - SDL




When Competence of Leadership must stand up..

It was 1pm last afternoon, I was in North Sydney, at a lunch meeting at a fairly nondescript Japanese restaurant when I received a text... "I have just been made redundant". The news was shocking.

This text was from a highly respected customer of ours, whose professionalism in all his dealings with us had been of the highest standard. My overiding thought was "its a cruel world" where even the strongest of the species is not spared... Then again, the question is what is the measure of strength? professionalism? seniority? performance? In this case it could have been none of these... for goals had been set and achieved in the most trying circumstances.

Was it politics the measure of performance? What ever the answer is, there is one factor that all professionals of all types, ages need to get into perspective, that job security is near zero. Well this may sound like a cliché . but then why is it, when a job is lost, it comes like a tracer bullet from nowhere.... Individuals, need security for existence and certainly growth. How do you achieve these in such circumstances. Important questions, that need good answers.

In my hyper analytic state I would say in the case of my client, the measures of performance while accepted at the highest levels, accomplishment of the toughest goals takes courage and often the honourable backing of the ultimate leader. If this leader lacks the competence of understanding and withstanding the numerous pressures brought about due to change taking place, there will be victims and it is often the driver of change, the shooting of the messenger. In the organisation in question, the CEO who instituted the change moved on, and interim CEO was appointed and by the time a new CEO was appointed the organisation was on limp mode with most of the damage done. In these circumstances while the goals are still agreed at the highest level as important to the organisation as it still makes sense. The absence of required leadership to handle the inevitable challenges of change and the noise of change, creates chaos. Emotion overcomes rationality, measures change, scape goats are sort and good people often take the sword.

High quality leadership with a patient and long term view is perhaps one of the most lacking competence in our country today. Chest beating, fast talking, cost cutting  leaders are a plenty but is that the type our country, our companies and our people deserve?  I beg to differ, organisations with a vision and more importantly a soul will thrive, where ever they are in the world. Most of these organisations have leaders with quiet confidence and competence, who know where they are going and taking their people...., These organisations will profit even in tough economic times in the most under performing industries.. 

Apple and Google have been favourites of mine for many years, examples of soul driven leadership. These organisations have thrived in the worst economic times the world has seen. In case of Apple, how it can be turned from near bankruptcy, to being the most valuable company on the planet must take a miracle. In fact what it took, was leadership that gave it a soul. Google is an example of how human talent can be mustered., treated respectfully  developed and lead through key values (that give it a soul ) to achieve great world beating outcomes.

Virgin group run by Richard Branson is another great example of an organisation with a soul. A brand that stands for its values and a leader that is true to its values in the way he lives and runs over a thousand businesses. Branson has shown with leadership and with good people who you are faithful to, you can take on any industry and win, economic climates can be overcome. He now is taking on governments of the world with Virgin Galactica, venturing outer space.

Another favourite, Salesforce.com an organisation with a highly competent leader, in fact a culture of leadership. They have grown from zero to be a global leader in an highly competitive industry having fought the biggest and the smartest, is today a multi billion dollar global business growing at a tremendous pace. These are companies with souls...they are growing when most companies are going backwards, and as long as they remain so will continue to grow.

If you are a leader, build your business to have a  soul, adhering to clearly articulated sincere and honourable values, where values are not just for lip service but the ones firstly you, then your company and its people live by. In the most trying of circumstance you adhere to them not compromise them. If you do so your business will be a hugely successful achieving every one of your measures of success. Whatever they would be.

If you are an employee, seek out those companies that have a soul. They will provide you the most amount of satisfaction and growth. They may not be the highest paying or with the biggest brands yet, but carefully seek them out, they are the future if you in return will be honourable and sincere.

If you are an investor the answer is simple.

Dinesh De Silva, is available to speak to organisations or groups as a guest speaker on Soul Driven Leadership. Contact him via twitter @dineshdesilva or this blog