During my MBA studies, we learned about the teachings of leadership guru Warren Bennis. He authored a number of books on the subject and imparted leadership wisdom on both current and future leaders around the world. He explained that true leaders excel in three areas, one of which we illustrate on the cover:
• They are responsible for the effectiveness of the organization.
• They are responsible for the integrity of our institutions.
It’s rare to find strong and solid leaders that fit this complete description. Some people may have one of these three attributes, but very few leaders excel in all three areas. That’s because each bullet requires a different skill set and personality. Some leaders have grand ideas, but not the practical acumen to run a day-to-day organization. Others may have the best intentions, but once in power may be swayed by outside pressures to act without integrity. Add a customer experience layer to this, and it gets even more complicated if your business is siloed or aligned around products.
Complicated, but not impossible. We’re excited to share customer-centric leadership examples and insight in this issue of the Customer Strategist. Each one of Bennis’ traits is applied by leaders with vision and passion about their business, customers, and employees. We look at how Vodafone relays customer-focused mindset from its leaders to all levels of its organization. The 2014 1to1 Media Customer Champions share their insight on effective leadership. And we excerpt an exciting new book, The Technology of Us, where scientific, academic, and business leaders discuss the intersection of technology and humanity.
As we enter 2015, we hope these articles inspire you to inspire others.