Once you’ve made it to the upper echelon of any field – you only need three core competencies:
Strategy, Finance and People
It doesn’t matter which industry you are in – these are the three definitive skills that will keep you there and take you further. This doesn’t mean that you go out and do a Grad Dip in Applied Finance or become an HR manager. It means you understand the three fundamental leadership skills. Here’s the context around which you need to think about them:
Strategy: You need to understand the shifts in your industry and consumer behaviour. You need to know how they pertain to technology and business life cycles. You need to develop a plan for steering your organisation in the right direction and be able to articulate the rationale. This will include resource allocation and organising the factors of production to make the plan possible. All of this needs to be done within the context of where you are today.
Finance: How are you going to finance the operation? How will you garner resources to make the needed shifts possible and what will your revenue sources of tomorrow be? It will require an understanding of how accelerating technology changes your prevailing business model. Is the pendulum swinging towards your business model or away from it? You will also need to make sure the current business model matches your cost base – it becomes a game of alignment.
People: Here you need to install competent people in the right places who can implement your plans at a tactical level. It’s about organising and motivating the troops, while ensuring they have the resources and compensation to keep their heads in the game. They also need to have bought into your mission and strategy. It’s also about the people outside of your organisation – you need to influence others within your value chain.
These are the three things great leaders focus on. They don’t do things, but become architects of their own future through strategy and finance, as well as managing the people who make it happen.
The good news is that you don’t need to wait for permission to start doing these things. In fact, the opposite is true. If you do these things informally, in time you’ll be invited to be the person who does it as a leader. Step up.
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