Only 12% Of Leaders Are Effective Enterprise Leaders
Tackling the complexities of the modern business world requires all leaders to work toward an aligned set of goals, acting in the best interests of the whole organisation rather than just a single business unit.
Many organisations encourage leaders to elevate their thinking by concentrating on wider organisational outcomes, rather than focusing narrowly on individual team performance. These Leaders have the greatest impact because they take a broader organisational view to deliver stronger business performance.
However, true enterprise leadership requires a complete shift in mindset and the fundamentals can be hard to live and breathe every single day.
CEB estimate that only 12% of leaders are effective enterprise leaders.
Enterprise leadership encourages leaders to move seamlessly between the strategic and operational levels. It requires them to view the business through both a team and wider organisational lens and it involves leaders building a wider network of relationships. In doing so, they continue to produce results for their team whilst contributing to the overall performance of the wider organisation, leveraging the strength and work of other teams. Put simply, enterprise leadership uses peripheral vision (lateral view) instead of only focusing on what’s in front of you (tunnel vision).
When all leaders operate in this way, it ensures there are no competing priorities throughout the organisation. This combination of leadership is what equates to enterprise leadership, and it requires a new perspective and a new set of skills.
6 Pillars of Enterprise Leadership
We believe there are six pillars that are central to enterprise leadership. Leaders must shift their own mindset and exhibit the below behaviours every day in order to demonstrate true enterprise leadership.
Leaders that can elevate themselves, operate at a higher altitude and can move seamlessly between the strategic and tactical levels demonstrate enterprise leadership. These leaders have deep confidence in themselves and have faith in their own ability. They resist the temptation to ‘tell-do’ and ‘do’, instead they encourage their people to step up. They recognise that they do not have all the answers, they maintain headspace for their people and encourage them to think and provide the right environment for them to make decisions, solve problems and ultimately thrive.
Viewing the organisation through the right lens is an important aspect of enterprise leadership. It requires leaders to focus on both internal and external factors. These leaders always have a finger on the pulse of the organisation, they are tuned into the cultural tapestry of the company, they do not miss the subtle cues and signals from their people. They instinctively know what lies ahead and what the climate looks like. At the same time, they are extremely aware of the external market conditions, the political, economic, and environmental shifts that may impact the company.
Relationship building for the wider good of the organisation is key. Leaders must build enterprise-wide networks and a greater sphere of relationships. It requires them to extend and leverage their external supplier and customer networks. Enterprise leaders do not think or operate with a silo mentality. Instead, they can demonstrate an understanding of the wider operation, structure and the underpinning processes, ensuring they contribute to a greater collective purpose.
Enterprise leaders develop a growth mind-set in themselves and in their people, enriching and expanding roles. By delegating more and by ‘letting-go’, they demonstrate trust and empower their people to experiment and learn from mistakes. These leaders learn to coach rather than teach and consider their role as being an enabler for professional and personal growth for the betterment of the wider enterprise. They learn to balance immediate goals of their business units with the broader goals of the enterprise.
Driving accountability in themselves and others is an essential trait. They buy-in to the company aspired culture and they build time in to reinforce the underpinning values and behaviours. They always strive to be role models and lead by example. They also help others to understand the importance of displaying the right behaviours. They are courageous, they hold themselves to account, they strive to be exemplars and they do not fear holding others to account by having honest conversations and giving honest feedback.
Energy and presence are key features of any good leader, but enterprise leadership requires leaders to builds a ‘can-do’ culture, bringing a new energy that inspires and motivates. These leaders are passionate about their company and its people. They naturally embrace transformational change and understand that it is a continuum that helps to transition their organisation to a better place for it to remain competitive. At the same time, leaders devote time to helping develop the right capabilities in their people so they can ‘step-up’ and lead change.
“Teams led by an enterprise leader are 68%more innovative and 21%more adaptable than teams of individual leaders”. CEB, Creating Enterprise Leaders Report 2013-2015.
What are the benefits of Enterprise Leadership?
The aim of enterprise leadership is to ensure all goals are connected and aligned to the overall strategic vision and mission. This then allows all business areas and units to pull towards a common set of goals, rather than competing against conflicting priorities within a siloed view.
Enterprise leaders understand the importance of moving away from task and micro action-based delegation, and instead adopt a more assignment approach. This ensures all activity is supporting the wider business strategy, whilst developing greater empowerment and ownership, helping people at all levels to lead and operate at a higher, more strategic level.
Other benefits include a 12% revenue growth for the leader’s business unit and a 5% revenue growth for other business units. Teams also experience higher levels of engagement and customer satisfaction when their leader is an enterprise leader, compared to an individual leader (CEB).
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