Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Seven Responsibilities of Leadership

In his fascinating book,

VICTORY! Applying the Principles of Military Strategy to Achieve Greater Success in Your Business and Personal Life (AMACOM 2002), Brian Tracy discusses the importance of decisive leadership: "The key to success in business or warfare is singleness of vision, complete clarity with one set of instructions and one person in charge making the strategic decisions. A confusion of visions leads to misunderstanding, ineffectiveness and defeat in warfare and in business." Tracy, a motivational speaker and best-selling author, believes that although business success is due to the efforts of many, it is essential that there be one person who is in charge of each goal and at each point of responsibility. He cites Jack Welch, Lou Gerstner and General Norman Schwarzkopf as examples of business and military figures who have achieved success due to their clarity of purpose and decisive course of action. In VICTORY! Tracy outlines seven "responsibilities of leadership," defined as "areas where you must perform consistently well to become an excellent executive and fulfill your responsibilities to yourself and your organization." Following is a brief outline of these principles.

1. Set and achieve business goals.

In warfare, a military commander is given the responsibility of achieving victory against the enemy. In business, each executive at every level is given the responsibility to achieve specific, measurable business victories or goals. The inability to get the required results, and to achieve the goals in a timely fashion, is the primary reason for failure, frustration and firing at every level, in every company, large or small.

2. Innovate and market.

Apply the "CANEI Strategy" to your sales and marketing efforts. CANEI stands for "Continuous and Never-Ending Improvement." Never be satisfied. Look for new, better, faster and cheaper ways to market and sell your products, every day, every hour of the day.

3. Solve problems and make decisions.

Whatever title appears on your business card can be crossed out and replaced with the words, "Problem-Solver." This is your real job. In solving problems, think and talk exclusively in terms of solutions. Focus all your attention on the specific actions you can take to solve the problem. Forget about the past and who is to blame. Focus on the future and what actions you can take now.

4. Set priorities and work on key tasks.

One of your key responsibilities is to be working on your most vital task all the time and to assure that everyone who reports to you is also working on their key tasks. Always ask yourself, "What are my highest value activities?" If you could only do one thing all day long, what one task would that be?

5. Concentrate single-mindedly on the one activity that can make the greatest difference.

Write down everything you have to do before you begin. Set priorities using an "ABCDE" system. An "A" task is something very important. An "E" task can be eliminated altogether. You can only get your time and life under control to the degree to which you stop doing certain things. Practice "creative abandonment" with tasks that no longer contribute to accomplishing your most important goals.

6. Perform and get results.

Your ability to get results determines your pay, your promotion, your success and the respect and esteem in which you are held by the people around you. Ask yourself continually, "What results are expected of me?" Whatever your answer, work on these specific results single-mindedly. They are the major determinants of your success.

7. Be a role model for others.

This is perhaps the most important responsibility of leadership. One of the marks of superior executives is that they conduct themselves as though everyone were watching them even when no one is watching.Top people set higher standards for themselves than others would set for them. Perhaps nothing contributes more to unity of command than for subordinates to work under someone they greatly respect and admire. Your commitment to becoming a great person, and to demonstrating your values in your every act, is perhaps the most important quality of leadership.

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