Jo Geraghty


Leading with belief

Date added: 19th Mar 2014
Category: Leadership

Within a short space of time, we have said goodbye to two iconic figures of British life.  Bob Crow the leader of the RMT union and Labour politician Tony Benn were both known as polarising figures but they also were universally recognised as being individuals who passionately cared for the people for whom they were fighting.  Included in the tributes to Bob Crow was one from London Mayor Boris Johnson who said that Bob Crow had “fought tirelessly” for his members; whilst in paying tribute to Tony Benn, David Cameron said “Tony Benn was a magnificent writer, speaker and campaigner. There was never a dull moment listening to him, even if you disagreed with him.”

Whether you agreed with them or not, these two men typified the respect which can be accorded to those who passionately believe in a cause and work tirelessly to improve the lives and conditions of those around them.  Caring deeply and passionately about others to the extent which these two men did is a rare gift but those who master it can act as a force for good in the world.

To some extent it is these types of sentiments which are starting to act as game changers across the business world.  Partly driven by the regulatory authorities and customer power, partly by sheer momentum, the business world is moving away from a profits before everything else mentality and into an era in which doing right and caring about people are the key drivers.  Creating exceptional customer experiences, employee engagement, sustainability and ethics have moved into the business lexicon and this is dramatically changing company life.

The road to transformation is not an easy one. Changing the culture of an organisation, particularly one which is entrenched in its ways, is somewhat akin to changing the course of a super tanker.  Knowing where you want to go is almost the easy bit. Changing the culture from one of me first, short term profits, what can we milk out of our customers to one which looks to the long term, to meeting genuine needs, to making a difference is no mean feat.  But it can be done if the leadership believe passionately enough to create the conditions for change.

True change, lasting change won’t happen overnight.  It won’t even happen if the CEO sends out a memo announcing it.  But with a clear plan and determination and transformational leadership any organisation can be turned around.  It will mean working on employee engagement, helping staff to feel the business genuinely cares for their welfare.  It will mean working on customer interaction, creating exceptional experiences.  Above all it will require a leadership which genuinely believes in making a difference and is prepared to work tirelessly to that end.

The old lazy world of business in which short term gain was all that mattered no longer has a place in the world.  Just as the farmers of old planted an oak tree for their grandchildren to enjoy; so too is business moving towards a time when long term security and genuine care for people are the main drivers.  Unfortunately there is still a long way to go and whilst some businesses have stepped out firmly on the way to the future, many others are still mired in the past.

But as transformational leadership blazes the trail; as leader after leader scoffs then listens then embraces the idea that genuine care for people can actually result in a better world and in increased profitability the world of business will change; and so too will the lives of all whom it touches.


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