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Leadership Lesson

Leadership Matters: The Interplay of Good Companies and Good Leaders

Rajesh Soundararajan on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/rajeshsound

When building a successful business, the age-old question arises: Are good leaders the key to building good companies or vice versa? The answer, as it turns out, is a bit of both.

A case for ‘it depends’.

Good leaders are essential for any company because they set the tone for the entire organization. They provide direction, set goals, and inspire their employees to work towards a shared vision. Good leaders also create a positive work culture, which is crucial for employee engagement and satisfaction. A good leader will also be able to navigate the company through difficult times and make tough decisions that will benefit the company in the long run.

On the other hand, good companies also play a vital role in developing good leaders. A good company will provide opportunities for employees to grow and develop their leadership skills. They will also have systems in place for mentoring and coaching, which will help to develop the next generation of leaders. A good company will also have a clear vision and values that align with the leader’s, which makes it easier for them to lead the company in the right direction.

A case of how leaders built companies – 

In my view, I tend to believe that good leaders make good companies. While good companies may attract good leaders or groom some, ultimately, it is the leadership at the top that sets the direction and tone for the organization. Good leaders have the vision, drive, and ability to make tough decisions that will benefit the company in the long run. They also create a positive work culture, which is crucial for employee engagement and satisfaction. This, in turn, leads to a more productive and efficient workforce and, ultimately, to a more successful company. While a good company can certainly provide opportunities for employees to grow and develop their leadership skills, it is ultimately the leader that is responsible for leading the company to success.

One great example of this is Amazon. Jeff Bezos, the founder, and CEO, are widely considered one of the best leaders in the world. He has set a clear vision and values for the company and has created a culture of innovation and customer focus. This has allowed Amazon to become one of the most successful companies in the world.

Another example is Apple; under the leadership of Steve Jobs, the company was able to create a culture of innovation, design, and focus on customers. He was able to lead the company through difficult times and make tough decisions that ultimately led to the company’s success.

Yet another example of a leader who has had a significant impact on their company’s success is Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter. Musk is known for his ambitious vision and ability to think outside the box. He has led Tesla to become one of the most valuable car companies in the world and has revolutionized the way people think about electric cars. Additionally, his leadership has also led to SpaceX becoming a leader in the private space industry with its reusable rockets and satellite launches. Even with Twitter, much as there have been different views on style, clearly, Twitter today is a lot more agile and a lot more shipping new stuff than the sumber it was in for almost 7-8 years. 

Musk has also implemented a unique management style in both companies, where he sets very ambitious goals and encourages (pushes ;)) his employees to work towards them. This approach has led to rapid innovation and development, allowing Tesla, Twitter, and SpaceX to achieve milestones that were once thought impossible. His leadership has also been vital in fostering a culture of innovation and risk-taking within the companies, which has been a key driver for their success.

Bezos, Jobs, and Musk are prime examples of leaders with completely different leadership styles who have had a significant impact on the success of their companies. They have a clear vision, super ambitious goals, and an ability to think outside the box, which has led to rapid innovation and development. Their leadership has also been key in fostering a culture of innovation and risk-taking within the companies, which has been a key driver for their success.

A case of how companies building leaders – 

While it is true that organizations like Unilever, GE, and IBM have built great leaders, it is less common that those leaders have gone on to build great companies. These companies are often established and have a long history, with well-established systems and processes in place. While the leaders of these companies have certainly had a significant impact on their performance, they are often working within the framework of an already successful organization.

For example, while leaders at Unilever have been instrumental in shaping the company’s strategy and direction, the company itself has a long history and has been successful for many years. Similarly, while leaders at GE have been able to drive growth and improve performance, the company has been a leader in its industry for decades.

It’s not to say that these leaders haven’t had a significant impact on their companies, but it is a rare case that those leaders have built great companies from scratch. Building a company from scratch requires a different set of skills than managing and leading an already successful one. It requires a more creative and innovative approach and a willingness to take risks.

Needless to say, while organizations like Unilever, GE, and IBM have built great leaders, it is less common that those leaders have gone on to build great companies. These companies are often established and have a long history, with well-established systems and processes in place. While the leaders of these companies have certainly had a significant impact on their performance, they are often working within the framework of an already successful organization.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the relationship between good companies and good leaders is a complex one. While both elements are important for a successful business, they play different roles. Good leaders provide direction, set goals, and inspire their employees to work towards a common vision. They also create a positive work culture which is crucial for employee engagement and satisfaction. On the other hand, good companies provide opportunities for employees to grow and develop their leadership skills; they have systems in place for mentoring and coaching. They have a clear vision and values that align with the leaders. Building a company from scratch requires a different set of skills than managing and leading an already successful one. It requires a more creative and innovative approach and a willingness to take risks. Both elements are needed to create a successful business, and one cannot exist without the other.

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Keywords – Good companies, good leaders, business success, company culture, employee engagement, leadership development, innovation, risk-taking, leadership examples, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Unilever, GE, IBM, interplay of good companies and good leaders, building a successful business, good leaders key to building good companies, managing and leading successful companies, creative and innovative approach, leadership matters, building a company from scratch, key to business growth, key role of leaders in a company, relationship between good companies and good leaders, importance of good leadership in companies, impact of good leaders on companies, company success and leadership, developing leadership skills within a company, company vision and values alignment with leaders, company mentoring and coaching for leadership development, key elements for a successful business.

Tags: Leadership, Business, Success, Companies, Culture, Employee engagement, Development, Innovation, Risk-taking, Examples, CEO, Vision, Values, Mentoring, Coaching, Building a company, Key to growth, Impact of leaders, Company and leadership, Skills development, Alignment, Key elements, Business growth, Management, Business strategies, Entrepreneurship, Organizational development.

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Leadership Lesson

What a simple pencil sharpener can teach you about big ‘I’ Innovation vs. small ‘i’ Innovation

What a simple pencil sharpener can teach you about big ‘I’ Innovation vs. small ‘i’ Innovation

As a parent, with young children, while I go around doing routine stuff, I usually keep a watch on how small and subtle changes are happening in the world of stationery – of pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners, rulers, glue sticks, and such mundane stuff. I am childlike when getting hold of these things and often stumped with subtle innovations that are happening in the industry.

#Innovation happens at multiple levels. There are the big ‘I’ innovations that happen once in a while that make headlines and get some multi-million-dollar funding, and the world talks about them to no end. Then there are millions of small ‘i’ innovations that go under the radar, many of which we use and yet one talks about them.

Unlike big Innovations, small innovations happen daily and impact life significantly and make life easier its own small little ways. We seldom discuss them, and in many situations, we do not even observe that innovation, let alone acknowledge or amplify that innovation. Small innovations are under the radar, but I believe, when put together daily, they impact the quality of life and save us time and money significantly.

Here is one such innovation – on a pencil sharpener. As a child and over the last 40 years, we have experienced this is the situation, thousands of times, yes, thousands of times While sharpening a pencil the lead gets stuck at the far end of the sharpener. I have personally spent, and I am sure if you are someone like me who is a millennial generation, we have spent countless minutes,  time trying to use a sharp instrument to pull out the stick lead. If it happens to be a color pencil, the lead is so soft that it gets stuck far more and it is much more difficult to retrieve.

Now, imagine this innovation (in the picture attached). There is a small opening at the far end for the broken lead fall away. A circular design, a little ide than the size of the lead that lets the broken lead automatically fall off. This, I believe, is a phenomenal small ‘I’ innovation.

There is a small opening at the far end for the broken lead fall away. A circular design, a little ide than the size of the lead that lets the broken lead automatically fall off. This, I believe, is a phenomenal small ‘I’ innovation.
There is a small opening at the far end for the broken lead fall away. A circular design, a little ide than the size of the lead that lets the broken lead automatically fall off. This, I believe, is a phenomenal small ‘I’ innovation.

Now about the business value and thus money that could be made by the innovator – Even if the innovator or the product marketer charges ₹2 (or 20c) extra per sharpener vs. ₹5 (or 50c) otherwise, the innovator would be amply rewarded. This does not happen in real life. That small innovator is not able to market that innovation, let alone price it at a premium. The user, on the other end, is unable to comprehend the significant value that innovation brings to them. Imagine, in this case, that extra minute the user has in trying to remove the stuck lead and that would have at least happened 100 times a month. That is a good 2 hour extra for just ₹2 (or 20c).

What are your thoughts?

What do you think about small innovations versus big innovations?

Is there merit in small innovations? How can they be monetized?

Are there any small innovations that you think have gone unnoticed?

Please share in the comments section. I would like to hear from you.