By: Sean Costa, Director of Client Solutions
Sean Costa is Director of Client Solutions for Bates, where he is responsible for growing the firm’s market share and visibility. Sean Costa has built and led successful sales and marketing teams/programs for the past 20+ years at Digital Consulting Institute (DCI), Linkage Inc., Palladium Group, and Corporater Inc. covering a wide range of marketplaces including Human Capital/Leadership & Organizational Development, Strategy & Performance Management, and IT/Business Software.
The chief responsibility of business leadership is to provide the strategic direction of the organization. It’s no mystery that successful business leaders are effective at establishing direction, aligning their people, and motivating & inspiring everyone to take action and achieve their goals. As a business leader myself and working with executive leadership teams for over 20 years, I often run across cases where all of the tools, frameworks, and plans are in place to implement the organizational strategy and drive performance -- yet no headway seems to be made. Objectives are missed, initiatives are ‘reprioritized’, and captain and crew find themselves dead in the water so to speak. Something happened, or more probably did not happen, between presenting the strategic plan and executing it.
What I’ve learned from many of the business leaders I’ve worked with and my own experiences in leading teams is that the fundamental leadership process most often glossed over tends to be ‘Motivate and Inspire’. Encouraging people and teams to move in the right direction by appealing to basic needs, values, and emotions is viewed as an ‘art’ and leaders either ‘get it’ or ‘don’t get it’. Little science has been put towards identifying and measuring those qualities of leadership that make good leaders great leaders – those leaders who inspire and motivate their teams to be champions and the ones we aspire to be like. Up until now, more emphasis has been placed on those competencies of leadership that help leaders create the vision, organize themselves, solve problems, think strategically, and other inward-focused skills vs. the qualities of leadership that are perceived by others and inspire them to work together, execute the plan, and achieve goals.
An executive from a well-known communications company I had the opportunity to work with described the challenges he and the leadership team faced in executing the organizational strategy the following way: “…We already have an excellent plan in place to communicate the strategy throughout the organization. We spent many meetings and many hours putting the right framework, objectives, and initiatives in place and everyone knowing what position they play…and we just don’t see the dial moving. I suspect we’re not doing a good job presenting this or coming across with the right message…”
Sound familiar? I am sure some of my colleagues and clients can relate to this or similar scenarios regarding buy-in, communication, engagement, etc. If it does, I encourage you to take a look at some of the work I am now involved with at Bates Communications that focuses on Executive Presence and the qualities needed to effectively communicate with and motivate organizations to perform at the highest levels. It’s the ‘secret sauce’ of leadership that we can now identify, measure, and leverage to become truly effective at what we do – lead our teams.