What do leaders really do? It’s a big question; one which is asked and answered by Vistage speaker and author Jeff Grout. As Jeff puts it, we all understand the importance of leadership, the significance of being the person at the top, the person who holds ultimate responsibility - but what about the practical realities of what leaders actually do?
“I had fourth-division feet and a first-division head”, said a younger Jurgen Klopp in the days when he was managing Borussia Dortmund FC. And since his managerial career began in 2001, he’s shown just what that first-division head can do. He secured promotion to the Bundesliga for Mainz 05, won consecutive league titles for Borussia Dortmund – upsetting German top dog Bayern Munich – and, most recently, took Liverpool close to winning the 2018-19 Premier League title, not to mention a Champions League win the same year.
Vistage members provide a valuable source of advice and support for one another, and over time they can develop strong personal bonds. Frank Esson's Vistage group became so close they ended up attending a pre-work rave at London's Ministry of Sound nightclub.
The bigger something is, the stronger the foundations need to be. Let’s take a look at the tallest building in the world today – Dubai’s 828-metre (2,717 ft) Burj Khalifa. It sits on 192 piles buried more than 50m (164ft) into concrete-supported ground. Whereas a little portakabin doesn’t need anything quite so deep.
In their 2018 annual review, the ScaleUp Institute endorsed Vistage as an organisation that can help scaleup business leaders achieve and sustain growth. Why? Because Vistage doesn’t just help MDs and CEOs grow their companies, it helps them do it at more than double the average rate.
Technology changes the way we interact with each other. We often talk about it in an obvious way, looking at workflows and process and pipelines, at policies and data. There is a whole other lens of deeply influential behaviour to look at, however; the way we’re living intersects with technology and is changed by it.
Scaling up a business from absolutely nothing isn’t easy - but it can be done.
The American poet, Bill Copeland, once said, ‘The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score’. Needless to say, he wasn’t talking about football.
Leadership is about decisions - so much so that a Chief Executive Officer may as well be called a Chief Decision Maker. Yet 60% of executives surveyed by McKinsey think their companies make bad strategic decisions more often than good ones. The suggestion here? There’s room for improvement in the CEO’s core discipline: decision-making.