Leaders tell stories, managers talk strategy

leaders tell stories
Here are edited extracts from my recent talk for Equatorial Coca Cola Bottling (ECCB) in Barcelona (with the transcript below). The continuing theme throughout is employee engagement and the opportunities it brings.

What Progressive Organisations Do

Before I ever a take on an assignment with any business, I ask for 30 minutes just sitting in your reception. Just give me 30 minutes sitting in your reception. It tells me everything about the prevailing culture.
  • How do you behave?
  • What’s the level of potential collaboration in here?
  • What do you stand for?
  • How performance driven are you?
  • Are you values led?
I picked up the diversity thing.

Diversity is an Opportunity

Diversity is a mega opportunity for you. It’s a huge opportunity. We’re lucky enough to work with some of the best organisations around the world. If we’re not reflecting the customers we serve, then we’re missing an opportunity. [bctt tweet=”If we’re not reflecting the customers we serve, then we’re missing an opportunity.” username=”renecarayol”] There’s a massive talent pool of talent out there, massive. 51% of the worlds talent is female, why wouldn’t you? Why wouldn’t you? These are all opportunities, these are huge- These are huge opportunities. I wouldn’t be embarrassed about it, I’d just jump to the opportunity. When the market’s really tough, the competition may be a little bit more agile, they may have a little bit more flexibility than you, they might even be able to compete a little better on price. You’ve got the mega brand. You’ve got clear strategy, but I put it to you the opportunity is people, culture, leadership. That’s where you’re gonna make the essential difference. And in transformative times, what an opportunity. And when I say leadership, for the avoidance of doubt, I mean you in the room. You are the leadership. If this is going to transform, and you’re going to win, it’s going to be down to you. There’s no ‘them’, there’s no ‘they’, it’s you. And this is where the rubber hits the road. [bctt tweet=”Be the executioners of strategy not the recipient of strategy – #Leadership #SpikeSpark ” username=”renecarayol”] You’re not the recipient of strategy, you are the executioners of strategy. There’s no one but you. This is the top of the organisation. If you’re gonna win, it’s down to you. If you don’t, it’s down to you. It’s impossible, in today’s fast moving world. Hugely competitive, innovation happening everywhere, but most of all, unforgiving markets.

Seek out those in your organisation closest to the customer

Those of the front line, which you call execution, sometimes have the answer, sometimes have the initiative, sometimes have the ideas. Whoever’s closest to the customer has brilliant initiatives to bring to the organisation. How good are you at that interactive dialogue up and down the organisation? How good are you at listening to the voices on the front line? How good are you at engaging with those who are the doers that may not be seen, historically, as the thinkers? What we’re seeing with the best of the best, traditionally, many organisations used to support up and challenge down. Today, from the best, we’re seeing them challenge up and support down. There was a time, when we served the leader. Today the leader serves the people. In progressive organisations, the leaders are there to serve. Until the lions have their own story, the tales of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.

What’s your story?

Leaders tell stories, managers talk strategy. What’s your story? I want to be part of something special. What do we stand for, what’s our narrative? What’s our story?

What next?

If Diversity and Inclusion are a challenge for your organisation then you may be interested in our next Inspired Leaders Network event, Are Your Employees Invisible. We will have a panel of unique diversity and inclusion experts to share best practice and what’s working. Tap the button for more information