Saturday, 24 May 2008

Consequences of under investing

Who has not heard "there is no budget this year for this activity" or "you have to do more with less" or "resources need to be diverted to another area"?

When we hear such edicts, we try and layout the pros and cons of the proposed cuts. How many of you out there have been successful to convince your leadership that the proposed cuts will undermine corporate operations and under-investing in certain areas will have dire impact in the long run? I bet not very many.

It goes without saying that no matter where - even on Mars for that matter - there is waste. It goes without saying that we should work toward rationalizing spending and that we should spend money in an intelligent manner and for activities that add value. However, any organization needs to undertake a set of activities to ensure its business continuity.

A common pitfall of leadership when making cuts, is to make the cuts in service areas and shift resources to operations, without realising that when operations has more money to spend, their demand on services will increase. What ends up happening is a "Catch 22" situation. Services do not have money to cater to the needs to operations, so operations does not get adequate service. The end result the entire organization suffers.

Now, how can we get this very simple and elementary message across to leadership?

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Different types of leadership

Recently I was reading an article on different types leadership: command leadership, manipulative leadership, paternalistic leadership, contingency based leadership, and values based leadership. The description of the manipulative leader was one that I am sure everyone has come across: "manipulative leader has greed or personal gain as a driving force or a major motivation, and will use deceitful methods to achieve their goals". Who has not come across one of these!!!

The good news is that history shows that manipulative leadership, as advocated by Machiavelli, "often succeeds in the short term [ but ] almost always fails ultimately because expediency cannot be concealed forever"

So if you are a victim of a manipulative leader, get back your life in hand, react and know that its days are counted!

Those who are practicing manipulative leadership, you need to read Joseph S.Nye's new book called "The Powers to Lead" to understand why you have to stop practicing Machiavelli. There may be still some chances of redemption for you lot and who knows you may end up having some followers! Although most probably you will have to work extremely hard to regain respect and trust.