New Requirements for Industry Leadership

In their book Confronting Reality, authors Larry Bossily and Pam Charda discuss how any business expecting to stay around in the new environment must raise the bar for leadership. They state, “Two leadership qualities have become absolutely indispensable today, and they aren’t on the usual lists. The first is business acumen, more commonly called business savvy. The second is a need to know—or, to put it another way, a refusal to take anything for granted, an insatiable curiosity about what’s new and different.”

Let’s talk about business savvy. People with business savvy know how to make money. They have business models in their minds (e.g. if feed costs increase, they have a response: get more milk and lower other costs). They have a clear, gut feeling for what’s happening in their external environment! If fuel costs are up and regulations more restrictive, they know they must change and adapt to these tougher restrictions. They look for trends that might benefit their operation.

They also know their STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES in their business and get help wherever they need it. They are driven to solve problems and identify opportunities. Whining about these challenges is seldom a productive use of your time and energy. As authors Bossidy and Charda state, “At the end of the day, they measure their success not by the power they’ve wielded or the praise they’ve won, but by the satisfaction of knowing that they’ve met their financial targets.” Mark Twain said, “Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of it.”

So what can you do? First, learn to have business savvy. Realize that a fundamental simplicity underlies all business problems. Check with others who have dealt with similar challenges! Second, know all the variables you can. Realize that some ambiguity or uncertainty underlies all business decisions. You never know all factors in a choice. If we did, all the potential profit would already be taken out of the equation. Third, keep it simple, keep it as clean as possible, and think!!!! Finally, share your thinking with your team. Their review of your ideas and their potential input could be vital to your future success.