Most people working in a business recognize senior leaders for their accumulation of knowledge and experience, and defer to their judgment in almost every situation. They rely on these pinnacle managers for the guidance and direction that will lead the company to continuing success. For their part, senior leaders look to a leadership development plan to keep themselves current and viable in a competitive challenging environment.
The dilemma is that for those who have the education and the career experience to be executives, where do they find sources for greater business knowledge. They got to where they are by being the so-called smartest cat in the barn, so finding a mentor can be difficult. The answer lies in a historical analysis of business successes and failures.
Nevertheless, there are lessons current industry can learn from the historical experiences. One lesson is how leaders become successful at shepherding a company through the turbulence of a free market. The exact methods and actions are in constant flux, but the precepts behind the actions can be codified and followed.
One of the miracles of the twentieth century involved the ascension of Japanese manufacturing from the ashes of war. Following the second world war, products labeled made in Japan were known to be cheap, marginally functional and even dangerous. The Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE), were aware of the deficiencies in production, and studied the techniques used by the US military in their development of the American War Standards published in 1942.
The Americans brought a dedication to statistical process control to manufacturing, but also a passion for management that was different from the corporate structure of the day. Having been invited by the Japan Union of Scientists and Engineers, Japanese companies felt compelled to adopt the new philosophies. The wisdom of that choice has played out in decades of exceptional management and market success.
Many of the principles highlighted by Doctors Deming and Juran are now prominently displayed on posters in boardrooms everywhere, but following these edicts is harder than adopting pithy slogans. It is one thing to understand that the boss ought to understand the process by which the product or service they sell is made. Most CEOs and senior leaders still feel that that level of detail is unimportant information that takes too much time to learn.
They were strong believers that the key to success in business was an active management that truly understood the business they were in. They cared about the long term welfare of their employees and were dedicated to the company. Managers would do well to execute a self analysis of how much they really know about the product or service they produce and sell.
Leadership development plans do not need to include large sections on the latest business intelligence software or even sections on statistical process control. The best way to develop the guide is to look to the basics of enterprise. Using the historical experiences of successes and failures can keep managers focused on the basics of industry, to their benefit and the entire corporation.
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Author: Celia HallThis author has published 202 articles so far.