Business Sutra |2.3 | Leadership in different Business Cycles

Business Sutra |2| Leadership

In the first episode of the TV serial on CNBC 18, spread over three segments, Devdutt Pattanaik presented to us the most visible form of the business – the corporation : its meaning, its purpose and its action perspective.

In the second episode Devdutt Pattanaik discusses Leadership. The first segment of the second episode dealt with the role of the leader and the second segment what impact the context has on the leaders. The third segment looks at the context in the light of different business cycles.

Business Sutra |2.3 | Leadership in different Business Cycles

Allison McSparron-Edwards, founder and managing director of Consultrix analyzes Business lifecycles and the need for different leaders at different times. It may seem fairly obvious but as companies grow they appear to follow a corporate life cycle including Creation, Growth, Maturity, Turnaround and Decline. [Kimberley, J. R., Miles, R. 1980, and associates The Organisational Lifecycle: Issues in the Creation, Transformation, and Decline of Organisations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.]…In tandem, it appears that, in order to be successful in each stage, companies need to employ different types of leaders including Creators, Accelerators, Sustainers, Transformers and Terminators. [Ward, A., The Leadership Lifecycle: Matching leaders to evolving organizations. Ebbw Vale: Palgrave MacMillan]

A Ward’s book – The Leadership Lifecycle – presents a model of the leadership process that identifies which factors create an effective leader at different points in the organisation’s lifecycle and which forces act as moderators to that effectiveness. The dimension of how the dynamics of leadership play out over time is what distinguishes this work from previous books on leadership.

So here is your challenge: Do you know whether your leadership behaviors suit your company’s growth cycle?

The Business Lifecycle & The 5 Phases of Leadership :

Phase 1: Innovation

During the startup phase, the leader is very single-minded and highly driven. Their enthusiasm and energy alone is enough to inspire others to shared greatness.

Phase 2: Entrepreneurial

Due to limited resources and a lack of deeper understanding, entrepreneurial leaders tend to surround themselves with followers and, sometimes, subservient players who are not necessarily leaders. A “my way or the highway” attitude could lead the business down the wrong road.

Phase 3: Managerial

The transition from entrepreneur to manager is very challenging. The entrepreneur tends to be a high energy, powerful, dominant, controlling leader. The entrepreneur also dislikes process and procedure. If we don’t transition to a managerial leader, the business will have a ceiling on its growth and potential. New team leaders may put ideas into play that don’t mesh with the original company vision. Getting On Purpose will ensure the business is not sacrificing passion for process, while ensuring a fluid transition of vision to the leadership team.

Phase 4: Administrative

While the administrative phase is generally successful from a business perspective, the success is unsustainable because the company can lose the On Purpose vision. Leadership must be vigilant and strive to allow innovation while constantly resisting the devolution/transition into the “Bureaucratic Phase”.

Phase 5: Bureaucratic

Unchecked, politics and bureaucracy become the accepted cultural norm, with a culture that operates on rules and guidelines. Strong, determined change through On Purpose coaching strategies can re-vitalize leadership, empower the team and bring the company back into the entrepreneurial, maturity or administrative phase.

Leadership Style and the Organization Life Cycle is a research paper and was executed to explore and test the belief that a transition of organization life cycle has a relationship to leadership style

Business Lifecycle and Leadership Fit By Eric Hansen

Leadership Style Lifecycle: Choose the Right Leadership Style for the Right Environment Rod King, Ph.D., AUTHOR of “Business Model Canvas: A Good Tool With Bad Instructions?“; CONSULTANT on Business Model Hacking (BMH):

In 6 Leadership Styles, And When You Should Use Them Robyn Benincasa notes that great leaders choose their leadership style like a golfer chooses his or her club, with a calculated analysis of the matter at hand, the end goal, and the best tool for the job. Here are the six leadership styles Daniel Goleman’s study that his Leadership That Gets Results  uncovered among the managers he studied, as well as a brief analysis of the effects of each style on the corporate climate:

If you take two cups of authoritative leadership, one cup of democratic, coaching, and affiliative leadership, and a dash of pacesetting and coercive leadership “to taste,” and you lead based on need in a way that elevates and inspires your team, you’ve got an excellent recipe for long-term leadership success with every team in your life.

Robyn Benincasa is a two-time Adventure Racing World Champion, two-time Guinness World Record distance kayaker, a full-time firefighter, and author of the new book, HOW WINNING WORKS: 8 Essential Leadership Lessons from the Toughest Teams on Earth, from which this article is excerpted. (Harlequin Nonfiction, June 2012)

Leadership and Life Cycles: Barbarians to Bureaucrats is an edited (20min) presentation on corporate life cycles and leadership styles by Lawrence M. Miller.

Now, let us look at what Devdutt Pattanaik has to say on the subject in the Segment 3: Leadership in different Business Cycles

Why is success so individualistic when we talk about in the context of business? Of course, in successful companies we almost always connect them to one overwhelmingly successful individual. Almost everything about the success of leadership connects to that leader. We rarely praise the board of Apple but Steve Jobs is God. Similarly for Microsoft Bill Gates is God and for Reliance Industries Dhirubhai Ambani is a legend for what he has achieved. Why is success so individualistic when everything in mythology seems to be talking about the community, the other, the outside.

Everything in Indian Mythology talks about other, the outside. The Western mythology is a complex combination between Greek ideas and biblical ideas. In the biblical idea there is God and there is a prophet. The Prophet brings the rules of God to man and we have to align to the rules. The prophet is subject to these rules. He is not independent of the rules. He is not creator of these rules. He is subject to these rules. The Greek model is very different. In the Greek model the hero is someone who challenges the gods, who fights the gods and who triumphs despite the gods.

Now when we use the word leader today in common parlance, these words have come from the Western context. When they are using the word leader they refer to the heroes of Greek mythology who challenge the gods, that is the status quo, who challenge the establishment and innovate and create something new breakthrough. Today there is the Hercules of modern times. Hercules is always alone. Have you seen him with family or Theseus or Jason?  None of them are with family. All of them are individuals. Some of them are kings but you never hear about the kingdom. You only know about their great adventures. All our leadership books that we have are basically Greek heroes.

When we are that individualistically oriented and if the board is not as responsible, as revered, then the Board is always going to come second to the individual leaders. If the Board always comes second to the individual leader, then let us go back to the conversation we had in the very first episode – how is the board ever going to be able to stand up to that leader.

This is the Great Western conflict – the individual versus the community.

In the Indian context how do you apply this concept?

It is not achievement which makes Ram worthy of worship; it is sacrifice that makes him worthy of worship. So I would actually argue a leader has to begin as Parshuram, then become Ram and then evolve into Krishna. Unfortunately many have to become Buddha or Kalki depending on the situation. These are the avatars Parshuram is rule-follower, he is like this very strict teacher who punishes you if you break the rules.  Then he becomes the model leader, Ram, who hopes that by being a model of sacrifice the people will understand the meaning of sacrifice. Because the whole kingdom is watching this great king serving them, making sacrifice in his own personal journey.

He leads by example.

He eventually becomes Krishna. Krishna is the ultimate coach, he is coaching and creating new talent and hoping that the Pandavas will become like Ram. They don’t.  They gamble away their own Kingdom thinking that Kingdom is property. So he has to put them through a great period of exile in the forest and sort of repair the damage and get them back on the trail. There is a lot of bloodshed which happens. So he is coaching them and finally becomes Buddha who switches off.  Or, he becomes Kalki who just breaks the system completely because it is not worth upholding.

So either you withdraw if it is worth sustaining or you destroy because it’s not worth maintaining anymore.

So it is a very beautiful narrative which is in a way saying the evolution of leadership. It is not becoming one style it is context driven. In the early phases, Parshuram, in the perfect phase Ram then become Krishna – create talent move out, go away. The world will continue without you it has been continuing without you.

If it does not continue it will self-implode. Leave it. Detach.

We thus observe that both, Western and the Indian view of leadership styles evolve in terms of the context.

In our next session next month, we will take up Segment 1 of Third episode – Dharma Sankat (Ethical Dilemmas) – of Devdutt Pattanaik’s TV serial Business Sutra viz. Dharma and Dharma Sankat (Ability to grow beyond animal instincts and Ethical dilemmas)

Note: The images used in this post are the irrevocable property of their respective creator. They have been taken up courtesy the internet, so as to illustrate the point under discussion.

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Author: ASHOK M VAISHNAV

In July 2011, I opted to retire from my active career as a practicing management professional. In the 38 years that I pursued this career, I had opportunity to work in diverse capacities, in small-to-medium-to-large engineering companies. Whether I was setting up Greenfield projects or Brownfield projects, nurturing the new start-ups or accelerating the stabilized unit to a next phase growth, I had many more occasions to take the paths uncharted. The life then was so challenging! One of the biggest casualty in that phase was my disregards towards my hobbies - Be with The Family, Enjoy Music form Films of 1940s to mid-1970s period, write on whatever I liked to read, pursue amateur photography and indulge in solving the chess problems. So I commenced my Second Innings to focus on this area of my life as the primary occupation. At the end of four years, I am now quite a regular blogger. I have been able to build a few very strong pen-relationships. I maintain contact with 38-years of my First Innings as freelance trainer and process facilitator. And yet, The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

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