Leadership bankruptcy

There are some over abused words in the corporate world, like “visibility”, “proactive”, “R and R”, “Values”, “metrics”, “vision”, etc and then there is death by PowerPoint :):) on these very topics. The hope is, inadequacy of skill will be made up with adequate and eloquent words. The world doesn’t work that way, fortunately !!

Let’s look at the meaning of some of these words.

“Visibility” means being visible, it presupposes that those seeing you have vision and are not blind. How is it used in organizations ? Make sure you sneeze and make it big news that it’s a different type of mutated sneeze. Always appear busy, meet your boss everyday two or three times, offer opinions with or without knowledge, ask anyone not succeeding in a job post to increase their visibility, create a 100 line project plan for every small thing and then kill everyone with PowerPoint presentations 🙂 sounds familiar ? What is true “visibility” ? Make sure your excellent work is perceived as your work – unfortunately not all bosses spend the time to understand your work, and perceptions matter.

“Proactive” – Stephen Covey must be rueing the day he coined this word !! It has been used, abused so much in the last 20 years. Being “Proactive” is basically beginning with the end in mind, it’s not the opposite of “reactive”. You can’t be proactive about emergencies, you have to be reactive, you can only be “preventive”.

“R&R” – “Reward and Recognition”. Gone are the days when you got one award in a year and slogged through the year to get it. Now if you show up at work with a pulse, you need to be recognised for it ! If you come on time? You are a hero. There is constant R&R and employees want more – it’s important to reward and recognise good work, but imagine the Nobel prize being given away every month, how exciting !!! Life is your reward after staying in a dark wet cocoon for nine months and you are hopefully a reward to your mum after she carries you around for nine months and deals with the truckload of hormone induced discomfort. Reward and recognise outstanding performance, not every evidence of life and intelligence.

“Metrics” – numbers matter. They tell you what is happening in the business – if you know the right questions to ask and know enough about the business ! They also can fool you into a false sense of positive movement. Like someone said for statistics – “Statistics is like a bikini, what they reveal is important but what they conceal is vital” 🙂

Values and Vision – hmmm these like the heart and brain of the organisational body… The values are at the heart of the organization, pumping vital blood into the arteries and keeping the organization alive. Values create the culture, that you can only feel, not see – just like you only feel a person is alive, the symptoms of life can be seen, but life itself can only be felt ! The vision is like the brain, because it is “thought coming into action” – if you brain, the nerve centre doesn’t function right, there is no quality of life. The same way, without a clear, good vision – the organization too has no quality of life !!!

Buzzwords don’t create a winning organization, much less a winning team. The corporate world is facing “leadership bankruptcy” and we are hoping buzzwords would save the day – much like a nice sounding medicine could cure AIDS !!

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