How do you define the difference between leading a business and managing it?
Leading is realising the vision and taking all stakeholders with you.
It’s about knowing how to take calculated risks and then getting everyone on board to move with you.
Knowing where to invest resources for growth, whatever that growth is.
Leadership is about ensuring the company is a good business – that it’s ethical, the right people and plan are in place to take the business where it needs to go.
Managing is making sure that the resources deliver a good return on investment and realistic goals are achieved i.e. time, machinery, people etc. A lot of these resources will soon be outsourced in businesses of the future. Best supplier management understanding will be needed to fulfil this.
Is leadership and management mutually exclusive? Should small business owner/managers attempt to combine the two or excel at just one?
Sometimes, by the nature and size of business, the leader is the manager. As organisations become smaller and flatter, then the leader/leadership team will have to manage.
There are, of course, pros & cons to that in itself.
But management should become easier as jobs/roles/functions are outsourced. The outsourced function is managed in its own right. It will be quality control/assurance that grows.
Should good leaders always surround themselves with excellent managers?
Why would a leader surround themselves with managers who don’t perform or deliver?
Managers of the future will need to become very solution driven to ensure continued performance.
Has the culture of business today meant more leaders or managers are needed to ensure commercial success in the marketplace?
Yes and No.
One leader can make the most commercially successful business in the market place. But there will be smaller businesses doing many more outsourced activities so in affect more business leaders.
I’m a big advocate of technology and strongly believe that technology today enables you to do more with less people. So yes more leaders and no.
What do you think the future of business leadership and management looks like?
I believe that businesses are going to become smaller and that they’ll be based on the theory of a shamrock organisation, which was predicted over 30 years ago.
The term was invented by Irish academic and management author/philosopher Charles Handy.
I studied management for six years, and as part of that, I read ‘The Age of Unreason’ by Charles Handy in 1990, and I’ve lived by his views the whole of my career. The book is more relevant today than it ever was. It’s hugely progressive, as was my management thinking at the time, I was only 21 when I read it.
We will not survive unless we adapt to the way the world is changing. This book is an inspiring vision of an era of new discoveries, new enlightenment and new freedoms.
Leadership will be about the disruption of where to take these smaller companies; taking the best ideas and then how to deliver it.
Managing will be different because more of resources will be outsourced, and probably across different continents
Are there any tools that leaders and managers can use to improve their skills?
I regularly help businesses declutter and process map, become objective and goal driven.
Stop wasting time on superfluous activity.
Any other comments you would like to make?
You can learn a lot from great leaders.