Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Reexamining business school fundamentals (reconsidered) 4: leadership

Posted in reexamining the fundamentals by Timothy Platt on February 13, 2017

This is my fourth installment to a series of brief, single issue sketches in which I reconsider each of a set of core issues that I first addressed in this format in a 2010 series. See Section II of my directory: Reexamining the Fundamentals for that earlier related series, and in particular see my earlier same-name counterpart posting to this one as included there: Leadership.

I wrote that posting to go live on this blog on July 24, 2010, and have written a great deal about leadership since then in here, and both in general terms and in more specific contexts. Citing the former of those areas of discussion, as of this writing:

• I count 67 postings in my Business Strategy and Operations directory and its page 2-4 continuations that have the word “leadership” in their titles.

And for more specific references here, I cite my series:

• Transitioning into Senior Management (as can be found at Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, as its postings 158-178,
• What Do C Level Officers Do?, as can be found at Page 3 of that directory, as postings 376-396),
• And Leading a Nonprofit (as can be found at Nonprofits and Social Networking as postings 21-38.)

So leadership has been one of the recurringly ongoing thematic topics of this blog and on an ongoing basis and since early on in its development. That is one of the reasons why I included it as a major topic of discussion in my 2010 series, and why I pick up on it again here, as an update to that.

I wrote about how the range and scope of leadership responsibility has expanded out as businesses take on increasingly wide-ranging roles in global economies and in national, regional and global business and marketplace ecosystems, in 2010. That pattern of change in activity and responsibility has continued to expand and in both scope and significance since then. And this means working and managing and leading, in the face of all of the friction and all of the wrinkle creating resistance to the flattening world (of Thomas Friedman’s terms) that I addressed in the first three postings to this 2017 series (and see in particular, its Part 2 and Part 3.)

I wrote in those recent postings of how at least currently, resistance to open markets and global flattening have been increasing and certainly in developed nations such as the United States. And I also wrote there about how countries such as Vietnam have been actively embracing this opening up, and supportive of open trade agreements and other formal frameworks that would further enable it. And that dichotomy of response is central to the issues that I would raise and make note of here in this posting and in its leadership context.

• Leadership – or good effective leadership at any rate, is all about creating and conveying a vision of where the organization can go, that inspires others and in ways that prompt them to want to help to make that vision a reality.
• I have been writing in this series about change and uncertainty as it is taking place on what can only be considered a global scale, and about how a widely shared awareness of that has been developing.
• Effective leadership in this context means being able to manage and lead through all of that. And while this approach to understanding leadership clearly applies to larger globally reaching enterprises, it increasingly applies to even small and seemingly more local ones too – and certainly if they operate at least in part online, function in supply chain or similar business-to-business collaborations, or otherwise connect into a wider national, regional or global context.

I have been writing about disruptive change in this series, and about current pushback against it. Leadership, and certainly in our current business, economic and political climate calls for willingness and ability to navigate uncertainty, and in ways that can create trust and consistency, and the type of unified effort that is needed to make those viable.

I write this posting on January 1, 2017 to go live on February 13. And in anticipation of events to come between now (as of this writing) and when it will go live, I add that 2016 was a year of uncertainty and of concern and for many – and 2017 holds promise of being more uncertain and concern-filling than that and for even more. 2017 is likely to become a year where effective organizational leadership – in the face of a likely national leadership vacuum on at least some fronts, will prove essential. And I offer this as my here and now 2017 snapshot in time.

I am going to continue this series and its developing narrative in a next installment where I will return to consider strategies for international expansion (see my 2010 counterpart to that as can be found at: Reexamining Business School Fundamentals – strategies for international expansion. Meanwhile, you can find this and other related postings and series at Reexamining the Fundamentals, as a new Section VII in that directory.

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