The culture of an organisation is a reflection of the consciousness of the leaders: therefore, to grow and develop your culture, you need to grow and develop your leaders.
Unfortunately, many leaders have the hubris to think that once they become a senior executive, they have no more need to focus on their own leadership development skills and capabilities. Nothing could be further from the truth: simply, measure the culture of your organisation using a Cultural Values Assessment (CVA) or have the leader carry out a Leadership Values Assessment (LVA), or a Leadership Development Report. It will become immediately clear what aspects of their own leadership styles the senior executives need to focus on.
The level of cultural entropy that you find in your organisation is a direct reflection of the personal entropy of the leaders. Reducing the personal entropy of the leaders will reduce the cultural entropy of the organisation and immediately improve its performance.
There should be three stages to every leadership development programme: Leading Self, Leading a Team, and Leading an Organisation (or alternatively Leading in Society).
Stage 1: Learning to lead yourself
Learning to lead your self is a lifetime journey. It is not an event. It is a process that requires your continuing commitment. There are always layers and layers of subconscious fears that have to be managed, mastered or released if you are to become an authentic individual; there are always new depths of understanding to be discovered around your purpose in life; and there is much learning to be done about how to bring that purpose to fruition to achieve the personal fulfilment you are looking for.
Stage 2: Learning to lead others (team)
The principle difference between leading others and leading self is the focus and attention given to building and motivating your team: selecting team members, setting expectations, and building a climate of trust. Ultimately, the role of manager or supervisor is to make sure the work of the organisation gets done; ensure high standards of quality and excellence, and continuously improve the products, and services, and the systems and processes involved in production and delivery.
Stage 3: Learning to lead an organisation
The principle difference between the leading an organisation and the leading others is the focus and attention given to managing the values and culture of the organisation (focus on the employee experience of the organisation), building an inspiring vision (setting the direction for the organisation), developing a winning strategy, selecting and managing the brand, initiating and managing change, coaching and mentoring direct reports, and managing relationships with external stakeholders—customers, investors, partners, and society. Ultimately, the role of the leader is to be an inspirational role model and inspire and motivate all stakeholders.
Stage 3 Alternative: Learning to lead in society
There are many ways that you can become a leader in a societal context. You can be a local or national politician; you can be advocate or activist for social change or you can set up or run a charity, an association, a sports team, a study group or support a cause that improves the human condition. The possibilities are endless. Whatever you do in a societal context that involves other people will inevitably involve setting up a group or an organisation that will need to be led and managed. If you are involved in leading one of these types of groups, you will not only need to be able to lead yourself, you will also need to know how to lead a team and/or an organisation.
This approach to leadership develop is explained in detail in the New Leadership Paradigm learning system. Click here to go to the New Leadership Paradigm Web site.