Leadership Strategies: How to Lead Your Organization through Thick and Thin and Achieve Your Goals
by Richard Martin


World-class leaders have the personal resolve and willpower to create effective plans and the organization to implement their strategies. They energize their organizations through these plans. They act decisively. They assess and adjust their plans constantly on the basis of sound situational awareness and outer directed information gathering.

This level of adaptability depends on a few leadership strategies, techniques and principles. When you follow my advice below you will achieve success.

My Top 7 Leadership Strategies You Need to Lead Your Organization Under All Circumstances 

1. Get clear on objectives and stick to them.

If you don't know your destination, you and your organization will meander aimlessly and enter storm-tossed seas.

Effective leaders know where they are and where they want to go. And, they stick to their aim.

2. Create robust plans.

 Plans have three key benefits.

  • Effective planning allows you and your team to delve into a situation beforehand
  • Plans create a common language for everyone involved in the organization's mission.
  • Plans tell you what needs to be done, by when, and with what resources.

3. Add flexibility to your organization.

The art of organization addresses “Who” and “How” in order to implement your plans. After the assignment of responsibilities and resources, teams and the organization as a whole must develop common processes. This ensures quality, consistency, and accountability. Plus, it will make it easier to determine the reasons for success and failure and how to correct your weaknesses.

4. Maintain situational awareness.

Most leaders focus on feeding an endless hunger for internal reports, rather than on markets, competitors and societal trends. When confronted with an information request, leaders should ask the following question: Does this request feed the internal information monster or will it contribute to a greater understanding of our environment and our clients?

If it's the former, then internal processes must be revised or eliminated.

If it's the latter, ask yourself if it confirms an existing belief about markets and competitors, or if it challenges it. Information that does not agree with widely held assumptions and beliefs should be scrutinized closely and given the highest value. The danger is in using information to confirm and rationalize what we already believe, instead of using it to confront a brutal reality head on.

5. Act, assess, and adjust.

Effective leaders act when they are 80 % ready. The final 20 % rarely contributes anything of value, since the situation and conditions it is designed to address will likely change anyway.
The effort and cost of attaining "perfection" in plans and organization is usually cost-prohibitive and not worth the additional investment. This doesn't mean leaders should blindly adhere to plans in the face of changing circumstances. The key is to act, assess the impact of actions, and then adjust the plans to get back on track.

Situational awareness plays a critical role in assessing and adjusting actions, but so does leadership.

6. Lead from the front.

It is in times of great change and confusion that world-class leaders truly earn their keep. Military commanders know that they can't command and lead their forces from the safety of their command post. The same applies to business and organizational leaders. This is leading from the front.

Leaders have to get down and dirty with the troops.

This doesn’t mean you should be doing your subordinates' work.

However, you do have to get out and about. Ask questions. Probe responses. Question clients. Observe what is happening and why it is happening.

Then you can apply your judgment to the changing situation and be present to motivate employees and collaborators.

7. Maintain morale.

Morale is one of the most poorly understood organizational concepts today. The term originally comes from the military, where it denotes the willingness of forces to continue the fight until final victory, no matter what the circumstances.

This is powerful stuff.

Unfortunately, many business and organizational leaders talk about morale, but what they really mean is the mood of the organization. Think of the mood of the American people, and much of the Western world, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. It was not rosy. People were both saddened and angered by the atrocity.

However, a majority in the U.S. as well as in many friendly countries rallied and decided that the time had come to do something about such attacks. Thus the War on Terror was born.

This example shows the clear distinction between social mood and national morale. They are clearly different, yet intricately linked. In the simplest of terms, whether your purpose is to fight a war or to introduce a new product to market, the only way to have the willpower and resolve to achieve your objectives is to maintain superb morale. Here’s how…

  • Recognize the nobility and value of your goal.
  • Recognize the sacrifices and commitments of your people.
  • Take care of your people.

Nothing undermines morale more quickly than uncertainty about one's own place in an organization, apathy, and uncaring superiors.

It is never too late to get a ship back on track or to reassess where you are in implementing your personal and organizational goals. Take the time to list your goals and then compare them to this list of principles. Begin changing your approaches immediately so you can become a more effective leader today.


The Author

Richard Martin, Founder of Alcera Consulting helps organizations apply the leadership philosophies he learned in the Canadian army, and refined in business, to their pursuit of excellence. Now, you can learn what effective leadership looks like, and how to do it in the trenches and in the office. To get more leadership, strategies, tips and advice go to: http://www.alcera.ca/articles-newsletters.php
Many more articles in Creative Leadership in The CEO Refresher Archives

Copyright 2008 by
Richard Martin. All rights reserved.

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