Tuesday, January 12, 2010

10 Leadership Drivers for 2010

It is the new decade, and I am still excited about it. Yes I have been too busy and too lazy to update my blog. The only thing I can do for my blog now is either post something really short and sweet, or copy and paste someone else's ideas. Sharing is caring, no?

As the start of the new year, I have to handle, assist and drive at least five projects, and still counting. This is not easy, and requires a lot of works, hard works, research, and planning.

So here are the big business issues that will drive the way we work in 2010 and some ideas on how to tackle them.

The economy

The recession forced organisations to cut costs and review supply chain efficiency. This will have caused restructuring and realigning, along some job losses, but it will leave businesses leaner, with the potential for higher profit margins in future. Management must continue to look for efficient delivery systems and resist the temptation to “add fat” when the economic situation improves.


In South East Asia, 65 percent or more of the workforce will be under-35-years-old in less than a decade. This change also applies to customers. In 2012 the under-35 customer group becomes over 50 percent larger than the 40-50 range and they will have money to spend. Companies should ensure customer-facing staff reflect this shift to younger buyers. Inside companies, management needs to keep the balance of staff according to age groups proportions leveraging their skills and intellectual capital more effectively. Research shows the over-50s have better skills than their younger peers but success will go to the business that meets the expectation of the larger population.


Despite the recessionary doom-mongers, globalisation is here to stay. If anything, people will be more mobile. But a centralised approach to core services delivers more economies of scale. Globalisation means that managers must operate on two levels — globally, in order to maximise efficiency, and locally to maximise customer service.

Social responsibility and the environment

The pressure from both internal and external stakeholders will force management to ensure that social responsibility and green issues are almost always a consideration. Organisations will be expected to demonstrate their credentials and be transparent. Not only will they be compared to peers, but social and environmental issues are likely to become a bigger influence in customers’ purchasing decisions.

Change as a way of working

The pace will increase yet further, and so will the volume of information individuals must manage. It will be essential for organisations to separate the critical from the irrelevant — and quickly. Managers should also align ongoing change to a clear vision of the future. Change without purpose causes confusion, worrying and mental exhaustion.

Customer focus

With increasing access to information, customers are able to compare more potential providers. So businesses must deliver the best products and services in the market if they are to attract and retain customers. Management has to ensure that service is at the top of every team’s objectives, whether or not they are customer-facing.

Simplicity of process and structure

Complex structures and systems can hamper a company’s ability to respond. People like having expert knowledge that demonstrates their value, but this often leads to more complication or management levels than necessary and impedes communication. Management must ensure that processes, structures and communication are kept simple and focused. Communication across boundaries is vital to effective delivery.

Performance and engagement

Much depends on the ability of the leaders to get discretionary effort. Management has to ensure that leaders at every level are developed to encourage this extra effort. This is often neglected in management development.


If people’s efforts are spread across a large number of possible outcomes, its impact is diffused. In organisations where the effort is aligned to a small number of key deliverable the benefits are significant.


It is only through leaders being able to inspire, develop and align team efforts that organisations succeed. This applies to those responsible for the performance of people. Leadership is often thought of as a “nice to have” linked to HR. It is not. Management must focus in on making sure good leadership is a “need to have” that underpins every activity.

Focus on the following:
  • Get your organisation lean
  • Think global and deliver local
  • Social responsibility and green issues are need to haves not nice to haves now.
  • Change must have a clear purpose
  • Keep structure, processes, communication and delivery simple
  • All actions must benefit the customer
  • Engage your people to maximise their performance and align it onto key deliverables
  • Use the experience of your older workers to meet the needs of the younger generation
  • You must have good leaders at all levels — everything else depends on that
Good luck on your journey.

Dem yuh!

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