entrecode Blog


What do people really want from their leaders?

Marketers tell us give customers what they want and they will buy it.

The same applies to leaders, give followers what they want and they will follow you.

So what do followers want?

Research suggests three basic things:

  1. Honesty. Be straight with us; tell us as it is even if we won’t like it. Forget the spin and the power point presentations look us in the eyes and tell us the truth.
  2. Inspiration. Share your vision, give us hope, and make it worthwhile coming to work, engage our spirit and then you will see what we can do.
  3. Competence. Do what you say you will and deliver the goods. Be a good role model that we want to follow.

  4. How many leaders do you know that can deliver what people really want? Are these skills taught at business school and if not why not? How can we get our leaders to understand this stuff?

    5 ways to make a step change in your business

    Here are some lessons I have learned from helping businesses to make a step change in their performance:

    1. "the easiest way to make money is to stop losing it" so refocus your strategy, eliminate loss makers and concentrate on profitable products and customers. Tip: eliminate investments in nostalgia i.e. products you like that lose money!
    2. Conduct a customer perception survey and act on the feedback Tip: be prepared for surprises.
    3. Select a small team of your best people to work ON the business in order to boost its performance .Tip: assume nothing, leave no stone unturned, benchmark your business with the best, encourage trial and error pilots.
    4. Maximise productivity by ensuring alignment between strategic priorities and individuals key objectives Tip: ask people to review their diaries, what do they actually spend their time doing?
    5. Make sure you have the right people on the bus don't compromise Tip: ask yourself how many people produce results beyond your expectations act on the results.

    Clients who have addressed these 5 issues have made significant step changes to their businesses ... and so can you if you are up for it.

    Memorable Mentors

    In order to learn grow and develop we all need people who take a genuine interest in us and help us build our confidence and competence.

    These people are invaluable, they rarely seek or get the recognition or the thanks they deserve so I am going publicly put that right for those who have helped me.

    Raymond Elderton who saw something in me encouraged me as a teenage plumber to study and to develop myself. He suggested I had the skills to be a journalist, barrister or a management consultant and I became the latter. Ray taught me to believe in myself. Thanks Ray.

    Gerard Egan who taught me how to help organisations with strategy and business development. I lived with Gerry in Chicago for a while ( my wife thought I was crazy) and he shared his experiences with me. Priceless. A genius who gave me his time and wisdom. Thanks Gerry.

    Tim Atterton the Director of the small business centre at Curtin Business School in Perth Australia who became a sponsor of my work in Australia for a number of years and enabled me to work across that great country. The best networker I ever met.Thanks Tim.

    Finally my wife Ellen who has been a constant friend and mentor ensuring I did not start to take myself too seriously! Thanks Ellen.

    Hope I have not forgotten anybody...

    There job done. So who have been your unsung heroes....

    5 things I have learnt from working with CEO's

    I have spent the past 30 years consulting with CEO's and have noticed a number of trends.

    1. The better CEO's are usually very interpersonally skilled which enables them to gain loyalty and commitment. They understand that people want honesty, competence and inspiration from their leaders.
    2. Many are quite stressed because they have no useful management models or processes by which to run their business.
    3. Few have a robust strategy that provides focus and direction or competitive advantage.
    4. CEO's brought in from outside the business who try to apply their previous experiences to the new business often fail because they don't understand the prevailing culture and DNA.
    5. The Shadow Side of the business i.e. ego's, politics, culture and social system CEO's find the most difficult to manage but they ignore it at their peril.

    The good news is that help is at hand which is what I do as a consultant.