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Leadership Styles for 2013 and Beyond

Contributed by Robert M. Donnelly

It’s a fact that technology is allowing companies to increase profitability with fewer and fewer employees. Corporate earnings have risen at an annualized rate of 20.1 percent since the end of 2008. However, disposable income only grew 1.4 percent annually for the same period.

Not only is the U.S. government now being forced to eliminate jobs in 2013, but sequestration will also have an impact on private sector jobs, as well. All of these factors require CEOs to embrace a more powerful leadership style to convince customers and their employees that their company remains committed to delivering their value proposition by embracing technology to satisfy changing requirements.

Life and business is about change. The best leaders in any field of endeavor rise above the noise and naysayers, and prove time and time again that it is never as bad as it seems. A strong vision of what can be will always overcome a sense of gloom and doom. The search for a better way is the foundation of the American business model. Look at what the U.S. automakers have been able to achieve rising again from the scrap pile and competing on an equal footing with their foreign rivals.

How much has been written about “disruptive technology” and “new business models”. Where did these new ways of doing business come from? They came from visionary leaders who challenged their teams to find a better way. They asked how can we do what we do – faster, better, or cheaper? McDonald’s continues to reinvent the fast food business.

A business philosopher once said that there are three kinds of CEOs:

  • Those that make things happen.
  • Those that watch things happen, and
  • Those that wonder – what happened?

As we enter another vortex of business events during 2013, those that survive will be the leaders whose styles are undaunted by the challenges, and can lead their teams to search for solutions and make things happen using all the wonderful new technology tools that are available and emerging to create a better customer experience. If McDonald’s can take the same basic ingredients and convert them into a healthier, more diversified offering than their competitors time and time again – why can’t you?

It reminds me of another leader who was able to convince housewives that he was able to convert a dead chicken into a quality product and charge a premium price – Frank Perdue!

 Now tell me…isn’t your technology more saleable than a dead chicken?

Bob Donnelly is an author, educator, and coach/counselor to CEOs.

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