Organizations and governments are posited to lead people. Can political leaders and corporate leaders lead the same way?
From a political viewpoint, an example of how a leader can dramatically affect the way a government performs its functions is Charles O. Rossotti who, in the Internal Revenue Service, made a fundamental change in the processes by which this governmental organization served its clients.
Moreover, Eisenhower, former president of the United States in World War II, effectively lead both the American government and the Allied Forces in Europe in defeating Adolf Hitler.
This shows hope for leadership at the political level. Eisenhower’s administration provides lessons for top management executives in today’s organizational challenges but does anyone care. Politics and corporate leadership have merged today with the current presidential candidates today.
Many leadership theoretical models stem from research based on military leaders and their followers. Examples such as the ones mentioned above posit that leadership has a critical role in politics and does affect governments’ functions.
In describing the importance of leadership in business and politics, investors recognize the importance of business leaders when they say that a good leader can make a success of a weak business plan, but that a poor leader can ruin even the best plan.
Furthermore, pundits decide upon the valuation of publicly trades stocks based on current and future leadership. For instance, Rich Teerlink, who dramatically changed Harley-Davidson in the 1980s, and fundamentally built a different organization that still prospers today.
The success of leadership at the Harley-Davidson Corporation has stood the test of time. For example, Harley-Davidson’s leadership created a more effective organization built upon three primary principles, focusing on people, challenging norms, and continuing to change fundamentally.
At Harley, every employee can participate in leadership decision-making. Another example of business leaders in a highly competitive environment is Steve Jobs, former leader of the Apple, who built a highly effective organization through taking a change-oriented leadership approach, which highly manifested itself in talent, product, organization, and marketing.
The evidence from these examples suggests that leadership is highly demanding at both the political and corporate level. For government and business organizations to achieve a sustained change and eventually higher degree of effectiveness, leadership is the key to success. In the absence of effective leadership, companies lose their required directions to achieve a high degree of competitiveness, and cannot implement a successful change to adapt to today’s business environment involved uncertainty. Governments have succeeded and failed based upon the various leaders that make the decisions that impact society.
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