The razor’s edge of success or failure is getting thinner by the minute. As we head into 2012, the rapid-fire technological advances that have revolutionized our ways of doing business are putting more and more pressure on the people that have to get their companies to the head of the pack – the leaders.
Today’s leaders have to adapt to the changing competitive landscapes that can appear seemingly out of nowhere, quickly pivot with the fickle consumer tastes that can throw carefully crafted business plans into the recycling bin, deal adroitly with a workforce that is demanding more transparency and empowerment, and, on top of all that, keep up to speed with all the latest technology and tools that can make a huge difference with those tightening profit margins.
If this sounds like a tall order for the leaders of 2012, it certainly is. Those that will not only survive but thrive in this environment must be what I call a “Triple Threat” leader – one that can achieve a mastery over three critical areas:
It’s not enough any more to be a “product expert”, or a “fantastic people person’, or a “process guru” –leaders must be all three to stay ahead.
The good news is that there are many fine examples out there of how this is working in the “real world”. There’s one I’m sure you might have been already thinking of as you read this piece – Apple.
Think about how the leaders at Apple have “mastered’ all of these things – you can see it with your own eyes at any Apple retail store. Oh yes, the products are all there, in all of their radiant glory – and their stories have been told many times over, most notably upon the recent passing of Steve Jobs.
But what’s really interesting is watching how the people and process sides have been covered as well – the stores are swarming with knowledgeable and enthusiastic product evangelists, who clearly are being led by people who understand what motivates them to act this way.
The process-side is almost a work of art – those same people are carrying around advanced devices that streamline the buying process to no more than a minute or two, since customers don’t even have to walk up to a cash register.
There’s no other retail place like it, and that’s why I’ve never seen a store NOT crowded with people. Yes, the products matter, but what really puts Apple over the top, is the presence of so many “Triple Threat Leaders” that also merge those fantastic products with great people and state-or-the-art processes.
How can you be a triple threat leader? It’s really a matter of balance and understanding – the ability to effectively and seamlessly “blend” your emphasis on these three things. I liken it to connecting the dots in the coloring book, to see the picture of success with total clarity.
Be a triple threat in 2012, and you will make that critical difference for your team, and your company. Happy New Year, and Lead Well!
Featured Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattjiggins/5575570591/