Management is simply the act of coordinating people to accomplish desired goals efficiently and effectively. We discussed in last week’s blog, ‘The Hierarchy of Leadership‘, about what Leadership looks like. Synonymously, leadership at it’s core (and highest level) is management. So, when we discuss management in this blog, I hope you’ll understand that I mean it at the highest level, Leadership based on Character.
How does a good leader, manage? They already maintain the respect and followership because they are compassionate and care for their employees. They are good hearted, high energy and bolster a positive atmosphere in the office. But is that enough? the answer is no. The highest level of leadership is only the beginning. So what’s the next step?
Step One Involves Vision:
Vision is the question of Where is your company trying to go? This should be answered in many different departments and areas. Your vision should include, Company Policies and Standards as well as Company and Personal Goals. As mentioned in an earlier blog on ‘Vision’, this should be decided by and enacted by the highest positions in the company. The owner, C-suites, Board and Administrators.
If you were using this blog as a template for management, I would give you three lines to write out your company ‘Mission Statement’ and/or ‘Vision Statement’. Then smaller lines to bullet point three to five standards, policies and goals. Be concise. No one wants to read a dissertation. Just get to the point, minimize your directive. You don’t need three hundred laws, ten is better… and two that culminate all of them is even better.
Step Two Involves Directive:
Directives involve the management or guidance of operations. This is the answer to the question of What? It isn’t enough to know where you’re going as a company. You must set up directives, an action plan, on how to get there. This isn’t something I, nor anyone disassociated with your company, can do for you accurately. Ideas and a rough skeleton. maybe. But the end process needs to come from the Leader/s. And as Leaders, they should have the know how and skills to determine appropriate directive to accomplish and guide others to those set goals. As an example.
Mission: To Bring Inspiration and Innovation to Every Athlete in the World
Nike is one of the largest companies in the world, and they understand this process of management. A simple mission phrase that is easy to remember and simple to live by. If I were the Leader of Nike and had to develop a process based only on this ideology, I would start first with a breakdown. They already answered the questions What (Bring Inspiration and Innovation), Who (Every Athlete) and Where (in the World). Now I need to give this phrase some directive by asking ‘How’. Disclaimer: I have never worked for nor studied Nike’s brand or management concept. These are simply the thoughts of a managerial mind based solely on what I, as a consumer, have experienced.
How can Nike be Inspirational?
Well, if you’ve ever watched any of their commercials, that’s the first and easiest place to inspire the masses. But as a Leader, I would want our company to inspire, not only on a large scale, but also one-on-one. So, I would continue to encourage the Marketing Team to inspire, while working closely with them to filter down inspirations for our crew members and retail sales people.
I might have a weekly “Word of Encouragement” for our employees to read and know and live by. I would want to create a culture of inspiring our customers, not only to buy our product but to live by these same inspiring principles that we filter down through our staff. And lastly, if I were at the top tier, I would partner or form an organization that could help inspire young and impoverished athletes with worthwhile opportunities to become the best athletes they can be.
How can Nike be Innovative?
Innovation is all about being cutting edge and is one of the quickest ways a company fails. They become stagnant resting on their old, soon outdated, products to carry them forward. So, for Nike to be innovative, I would put our research dollars (which Nike is probably already doing) into the two needs of any athletic shoe, comfort and support. And as the trickle down for innovation, I would want to institute new methods for selling shoes as well.
Perhaps a kiosk where customers can design their own shoes and have them shipped directly to them or to the store. Perhaps a trade in program used like a discount within the store on any given Thursday (or whatever day is slowest). The donations of the old shoes could be used as tax write-offs if donated to a consignment store.
Innovation can also be precipitated by statistics and questionnaires. It has been said that Henry Ford’s great invention was spurred by asking the question, “What do you need?” The people said faster and more efficient horses. And of course, he didn’t become a geneticist to make faster horses… to solve their transportation dilemma, he created the automobile. I would ask my customers, “what do you want to see?” Sure, you’d get some silly answers, but the real answers would be in there too. And that’s worth all the trouble.
How can Nike reach Every Athlete?
I think this would be the most exciting part of the Job for the Leader of Nike. Today’s word is so divided and so many groups feel so alone and secluded from the masses. And the saddest part is that, it isn’t one group or another. If I were the Leader of Nike, I would use this opportunity to help dowse the flames of inequality by attacking those inequalities as a company and as individuals. Being that they are publicly traded, this sort of stance would require the Board’s approval, but I would doubt that they would disagree.
Ads, commercials and in-store promotions that show a strong stance for the empowerment of the black community, the gay community, the trans community, women and the impoverished. Gather a team to find out in what ways we can impact these and other groups, and then work to do so while maintaining profitability and innovation.
How can Nike reach the whole World?
In over 170 countries already, I would just stay the course for this one and let it be the natural progression that comes from managing a great company.
Step Three Involves Presence:
This is the most overlooked job of the Leader, whether by themselves or by others. An invisible leader can’t lead! Now, the adverse is also true, the ever present leader cannot lead either. The balance of presence is essential to growth and culture. Think of it like a mother overseeing a child playing. While the diligent mother watches, the child will almost always act right. But when the mother steps away, the actions of the child are the true test of leadership. A good leader should be able to ‘walk away’ to forge those good behaviors when they aren’t around. But they should also come back to encourage those good behaviors and to reinvigorate the staff and culture.
A leader’s presence is also the only way to connect with the staff in a manner that articulates that highest level of leadership. It is quite difficult to be personable and compassionate on an intimate level if a leader is not present. Even by using a proxy, it is difficult to attain.
For some very skilled leaders, however, this type of trickle down care and compassion IS possible. Dolly Parton is a great example of this. She isn’t feet to the ground in Dollywood, working. But, she does come to the park on occasion to see and interact with the staff. She also employs managers as her proxy to identify needs within her workforce that she might be able to assist with. In talking with some of the workers at Dollywood, from attendees up to management, I found that the magnitude of respect they have for Dolly was unparalleled. And all of them also had stories of the first time they actually met Dolly and how kind and considerate she was.
Management is simply this. The act of coordinating people to accomplish desired goals efficiently and effectively.
Are you the leader? Are you making strives to be a better leader? Take these words to heart because they will change your Level of Leadership on the hierarchy ladder. Be kind to your subordinates because they are more than your most precious asset. They’re humans. Do this, and you will be the catalyst who thrusts us forward into a Brighter Tomorrow.
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