In the morning on a clear day, as I stand on my front porch, I have a view that allows me to see a beautiful sunrise. In the evening, as I sit back relaxing on my back porch, on the right day and at the right time, I can enjoy a breathtaking view of an awesome sunset. Two very different views.
Over the years, great leaders have run their perspective businesses or departments from many different viewpoints. In fact, you could argue that in order to be successful, it is imperative for a leader to manage from many different views.
I have talked to many different leaders over the past thirty months and most of them have had to redefine their game plan just to remain profitable. A couple of the viewpoints or thought processes are below.
The president of a manufacturing business was forced to change his view when sales dropped over 75%. In this particular case, after laying off valuable people, he thought he had solved his problem. Unfortunately, it got even tougher. The next decision was made to have everyone that was left take an unpaid week off each month for almost a year. During this period, they were forced to discover new processes that allowed them to run the business with this skeleton staff. Today, their sales are up. But the biggest surprise to the president and his staff was during their lean time, with the newly discovered processes, they not only ran the business, but ran it successfully with the smaller staff, without hiring additional personnel.
Another leader made the decision to offer a million dollars to his branch leaders for the best innovative idea to grow sales internally. This bold decision came on the heels of declining sales and gross profit.
These are managing from different perspectives or views. Laying off personnel and taking a 25% pay cut is my definition of "leading through survival". I would define the second leadership viewpoint as "strategic risk taking" - believing in your team while planning for strategic growth.
Neither was is right or wrong. As a good friend told me, "Any time your business is never on idle, it is either moving forward or falling behind."
To sum it all up, whether the leader is sitting on the back porch, watching a sunset, or on the front porch enjoying the sunrise, the views may be different, but ultimately it's about leadership and believing in yourself and the team that believes in you.
Which porch do you lead from?