Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Leadership in balance – managing vision in the face of detail

Posted in strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on April 28, 2010

I tend to be fairly analytical, as anyone who has been following any portion of this evolving blog would already know. I like to dig into the details and see how everything fits together, and I plan, organize, strategize and execute accordingly – from my particular blend of strengths. We all do this and it makes sense. If this is all we do, however – lead and execute from our own strengths and without awareness of alternatives, that can and will lead to gaps and to lost opportunity.

I also write a lot about vision and of the bigger picture, both of where we are as an organization and where we could be if we were to live up to our potential and really strive to fulfill our mission. Sometimes this simply means analyzing and synthesizing on the basis of our detailed analysis and of moving forward from that, and this certainly works when the road ahead is clear and straight. But bends and diversions, unexpected problems and opportunities arise and sometimes it is necessary to step outside of the nice, simple predictable and take a leap into the less known and less knowable – or at least the less foreseeable in advance.

This means finding and maintaining a balance in the face of change and uncertainty, and not just in your own practice but throughout your team as you help and support them. Your own personal sense of balance has to be a source of strength and balance for others who work with you and who turn to you for leadership.

• We have been going though a protracted period of general economic and political uncertainty and of uncertainty and weakness in our major marketplaces, and pretty much across the board for all organizations and businesses. That has prompted me to think of the issues I touch upon in this posting.
• I have been posting a practical guide to developing and leading a social network and goals-oriented community based Green and sustainability initiative and my next posting in that, scheduled for day after tomorrow will deal specifically with a set of issues that demand balanced leadership and vision that can deal with uncertainty and stress. (See Social Networking and Business postings 49 through 57 for entries in this series up to now.)
• I have just posted a three part series on strategically expanding a business (see Business Strategy and Operations, postings 23, 24 and 25) and while I take a very fundamentals-based approach there with numerical benchmarks and risk-based scenarios all of this analytical reasoning has to be carried out with an awareness of underlying change and even uncertainty.

The real mark of leadership, as opposed to simple, straightforward management is when the road ahead suddenly curves and you cannot just continue as-is with an axiomatically predicable, analytically sound plan and still hope to succeed. Leadership is in creating a vision and a sense of stability and balance that can find its way, and bring the entire team to find its way forward in the face of change and uncertainty. This is crucial when the unexpected happens, potentially beneficial or potentially detrimental, or open to either. This is crucial when disaster strikes or unexpected potential windfall jumps out at you with its tiny little window of real opportunity.

Analytical reasoning and insight is vital, but so is an awareness of its limitations and an ability to take that leap when needed, even if to land in a new analytical and carefully reasoned context as you manage your way forward again. Leadership is in essence and where differing from management the ability to identify and absorb change and to thrive in the face of it – leadership is about bringing your entire organization to so thrive as well.

We have been going through a protracted period where a lack of vision and of real leadership has proven too common, and in the News and in our individual and collective experience in our marketplaces. Leaders create and share compelling visions that cannot necessarily see around corners but that can help find a way around them. This means educating and mentoring, and communicating and sharing, and in vision and yes, in the creation of vision and its underlying values.

This is one of the postings I add to this blog that has been running through my mind for a while before being added, and in this case for quite a while. I have posted before on management and leadership and I am sure to post on these core issues again, adding this note to the blog now as a foundation piece for my approach in several of my ongoing series and to my own thinking on some fundamental issues.

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  1. […] have also recently posted a piece on leadership in times of change and uncertainty and I admit that I had this posting in mind as I wrote that. In that posting I even cited this one […]

  2. […] Leadership in Balance – managing vision in the face of detail, and • Leadership Succession and Maintaining Business Greatness – small and family owned […]

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