If you want to achieve dramatic change in mindset and behavior, the fastest way is through provocation. By provocation, I mean deliberately evoking a visceral emotional response in others. There is nothing wrong with provocation if you do it right. It’s just that, as a leader, you ought to be provocative, but never a provocateur—the two are not the same.
While I sometimes hear CEOs complain about their lack of authority in a matrix organization, the most successful CEOs I know never do. They have all mastered the matrix, wield tremendous authority, and influence their own and the business’s advantage despite the ambiguities inherent to a matrix organization. If you are the CEO of a Japanese operation of a global company, work within a matrix organization, and you feel your authority is stymied, think again. You just might have far more power and authority than you realize, if you know how to wield these right.
The success of any business rarely depends on any key manager or executive. It is only the mistaken belief in the indispensability of an executive that masks and suppresses the talent of others. Your leadership bench is often hiding in plain sight.
The most successful expat CEOs in Japan I know never adapt their leadership style to their company’s culture. They adapt their company’s culture to their leadership style, and there is no reason you cannot do the same in your company in Japan.
All strategic plans are perfect on paper in a theoretical static world. However, no strategic plan ever survives confrontation with the ever-changing realities of business and your perception of them. A robust strategy is one that can adapt rapidly to change in the environment as well as to change in your understanding of that environment. Below are three behaviors and practices for robust strategy common to my most successful clients.
The scarcest resource in a business today is not talent, money, or technical ability, but rather independent thought and the courage to act on it.
A leader can never give anyone ownership of a business initiative or objective.
Ownership is always taken, and to take ownership requires the will to do so. A leader can no more give someone ownership than a leader can give someone will.
I find it disturbing when business leaders choose to use CSR to compensate for ethically questionable business.