It was a pleasure to be interviewed by ‘LinkedIn Guru’, Alex Pirouz for the Huffington Post
Good leadership is essential to business, to government and to the numerous groups and organisations that shape the way we live, work and play. Having a great idea, and assembling a team to bring that concept to life is the first step in creating a successful business venture.
While finding a new and unique idea is rare enough; the ability to successfully execute this idea is what separates the dreamers from the entrepreneurs. And this is where leadership transforms potential into reality.
Leaders are a key human resource in any organization. We generally think of companies competing by means of their products, but they probably compete more by means of their leaders than their products.
Better leaders develop better employees and the two together develop better products. The importance of leadership in management cannot be overemphasized. To get things done by people, management must supply leadership in the organization.
Team-work is essential for realizing organizational goals. Managers must influence the team for work accomplishment through leadership. Secondly, leadership aids authority.
To gain a further insight into the importance of leadership in business success I recently had the privilege of speaking to Mark Bilton, founder of Thought Patrol and one of Australia’s leading authorities on the subject matter.
Mark has journeyed from Sales Assistant to multi-national CEO and led transformational change across many industries.
His last turnaround was as Group Managing Director of Gloria Jean’s Coffees, leading forty countries. He is now on a mission to hack leadership and humanize the workplace.
Mark’s impressive track record of taking broken businesses in diverse industries and turning them around seems to make his case. Whilst he speaks to seemingly ‘soft’ principals they drive hard commercial results.
Below he shares his thoughts on what he believes to be the top 8 most common characteristics of great leaders.
Transparency build’s trust; if you are connected to your team and genuinely interested in their participation and welfare, they will join you in your quest. People own what they help to create.
Hoffer said that “The leader has to be practical and a realist yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.” Therein lies the balance. Leaders must live in the future state and carry the vision yet engage in the purposeful motivation and practical realities of the present.
The key to successful leadership today is influence, and not in ‘command and control authority. We live in a new day, a digital age with a new set of rules. Influence comes from listening not talking, from taking time to earn respect and in being gracious and yet persuasive.
We are all flawed human beings; we all have our bad days. Leaders, who recognise that he or she is leading complete people and not just managing for an outcome, will engender a huge amount of loyalty, engagement and productivity. Treating others, as we would like to be treated, is a universal principal that’s worked well for over 2000 years!
‘Innovate or die’ is a truism that is probably more relevant now then in anytime since the industrial revolution. As Dr. Gary Hamel so rightly says; Management innovation is going to be the most enduring source of competitive advantage. There will be lots of rewards for firms in the vanguard.
Leaders need to be centered and balanced if they are to be effective and resilient. We need to be mindful to look after ourselves so that we can effectively serve others. We are Body, Soul and Spirit and each leader will need to tend to their own foundational well being, in order to be sustainable in the cauldron of the modern workplace.
Dispassionately choosing your moral framework sounds like an odd business success driver. Very few choose to go off the path to corruption or excess, it is usually an incremental slide. Making a stand early may save you, and others, a world of hurt and is a more sustainable life and business choice. Often it’s as simple as doing what you say you will do.
The stony face leader that shows no emotion is a relic of the Industrial Age. Genuine passion for your people and purpose is a great motivator that builds momentum. An engaged and empowered team led with clear vision and purpose by a passionate leader is a force to be reckoned with.
Whilst these seem like soft words they resonate with me at a human level. Listening to Mark talk reminded me of the culture I like to work in; of the leaders I know who are worth working for.
Maybe he is onto something, his impressive track record of saving businesses in ‘mission impossible ‘ scenarios would indicate he is. I think he has a message that leaders need to hear and one very relevant for our fast moving business world.
Follow Alex Pirouz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/alexpirouz
My Leadership Advisory has been launched! Thought Patrol was birthed in a mission to ‘hack leadership and humanise the workplace’. We enable leaders to realise their potential. Thought Patrol; Mentors, Coaches, Facilitates, Trains, Speaks and Advises on Five Transformational Topics. Our audience is CEOs Business Owners and Emerging Leaders who recognise that the business environment has shifted significantly. We are in a New Digital Age and we need a New Leadership Paradigm.
Great to see that GJC is going into very capable hands. RFG will do a great job for Gloria Jean’s Coffees. There is opportunity to leverage the brand and roasting across the newly acquired Cafe2U and other coffee assets as well as other outlets.
Synergies would be extensive as is the opportunity to create value through measured expansion. The International potential is enormous if handled well through the right partners. A great deal for all parties!
Below is the announcement article from News.com.au
THE company behind Michel’s Patisserie and Donut King has bought Gloria Jean’s Coffees for $163.5 million.
Retail Food Group said the global coffee chain had long been a target for the company, and adds to its current coffee businesses, Cafe2U and The Coffee Guy. Gloria Jean’s has 358 stores in Australia, 87 in the United States and franchises in 40 other countries.
Retail Food Group will pay $153.5 million in cash plus $10 million in its own shares, plus up to a further $16.4 million depending on the company’s performance.
The executive chairman of Gloria Jean’s, Nabi Saleh, has promised to stay with the business for at least another two years, along with his senior management team. He said Retail Food Group’s reputation as a food and beverage operator and expertise in building franchise businesses made them ideal to lead the continued expansion of Gloria Jean’s.
Gloria Jean’s was established in Chicago in 1979, and under the ownership of Mr Saleh expanded to Australia in 1996.
Retail Food Group is buying the intellectual property rights to the Gloria Jean’s and It’s a Grind brands, and will be the operational manager of the business in Australia and the US. It will also take ownership of its wholesale coffee roasting operations in Australia and the US, and will be the franchisor of the business in 40 countries.
Retail Food Group will raise $55 million to help fund its purchase through the issue of new shares to institutional and sophisticated shareholders. The company has also increased its senior debt facility with National Australia Bank, from $135 million to $253 million.
Its purchase of Gloria Jeans is expected to be settled by December.
It was a pleasure and a privilege to be awarded the Michael Page Executive Award 2014. They asked me to participate in a round of talks and videos to promote the Westfield Tour Prize and the Award. I was only too happy to oblige!
Whilst I do have plenty of Director experience, it was with some trepidation that I approached the ‘Australian Institute of Company Dierctors’ to register for the “Directors Course”.
It has been a while since I studied; My last exam was, to the delight of my teenagers, last millennium. Yes that’s right 1999 MBA finals. However, I needn’t have been concerned. The staff and lecturers at AICD made the experience a great one. The intensive one week course was well run by seasoned practitioners who communicated well. The imminent danger of “Risk and Governace” being a cure for insomnia was quickly averted.
The exam and assignment, whilst time consuming, were manageable and a great way of assimilating a lot of valuable information. If you intend to do this course, I would recommend you take the time to prepare well. This is not one to ‘wing’. Time spent in preparation for the course and revision of the exam and assigment will serve you well.
Once you have the exam passed you receive the GAICD and you are eligible to apply to AICD for a Fellowship. This is based at their discretion and on your experience. You can apply online in a straight forward process.
I have now become a ‘Fellow of the Australian Institure of Company Directors’, (FAICD) which while a mouthful has undoubtedly equipped me to serve in this area. I now know what ‘best practice’ looks like. In an age of heightened transparency and accountability I believe this course an essential part of any directors education.