Thursday, October 9, 2014

Strategy is in Darkness without Character

"Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy."     -Norman Schwarzkopf 

Character sustains leaders about who you really are, and strategy pushes business to concern where you want to go. Do you agree with this quote?

The character is a great beginning when the strategy is lacking. Courage is next on the list of critical needs. A leader of character has to have the courage to act; taking the action that is right versus the one that is popular. Strategies can be changed, altered, modified and pivoted.....character, like spots on a leopard, are markings that only change after significant trauma....People will follow the person of character before the person of strategy.

The strategy without character (enduring values) is like a kite without a string. Strategy as a living ever-evolving pivoting mechanism. Businesses all need some sort of strategy since anything is easier to steer once in motion, but much of the joy comes from the journey, not the destination, The road to somewhere can be arrived at by many different routes. Therefore, people want to follow the footsteps with a leader of high character, at all level, the strategy can always be crafted via collective insight. People want to be led, they like to know where they are going however if they do not, they will follow a leader with character, whereby a leader with only a strategy and no character would not likely motivate and inspire and thereby the strategy alone is destined for failure.

You need a strategy to assume leadership, but the only character can sustain leaders as who they really are. It is logical that "character" (attitude) is a critical success factor for leadership. The character goes beyond just ethics as this definition indicates -- the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation. Character distinguishes a person from others who don't demonstrate excellent and virtuous behaviors. While a strategy can certainly be fulfilled without character, the reputation resulting from the accomplishment will not distinguish the entity and will be less than honorable.

Character builds trust. Trust allows the team's energy to continue forward even though the strategic plan has not yet been well articulated. Leadership requires the inspiration of confidence that you are going to get the group to the final destination. Without integrity of character, the best strategy will fail to inspire confidence. Many organizations have succeeded in throwing the dart and later drawing the target around that dart to appear more strategically intelligent than they actually were. When the troops lose trust in their leaders, the brilliance of the strategy doesn't matter, alignment and support will fail. Would a solid strategy still be plausible or does strategy suffer too where the character is flawed and trust is lost? Simply there is a lack of passion, motivation, and engagement to implement the strategy.

The character is a state of the mind and soul, the very core of a human being. Leaders’ character will make an impact on shaping business/societal culture which is the collective mindset. Culture (and the character that drives it) is a significantly more impactful ingredient than strategy alone. The strategy is often sabotaged by poor character and poor organizational culture - and it is the attention to the "soft stuff" that has a huge positive influence on productivity. Without character, no strategy can save you. The strategy is how that state is realized externally. Without character, the strategy is just a style without substance.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast; without character, strategy lives in the darkness. The strength of character, integrity, humility, and the ability to distinguish between powerful argument and valid argument... are all important leadership qualities. More essentially the digital leadership formula is Character +Vision + Creativity + Empathy + Wisdom =Successful Digital Leadership.


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