Leadership – the sheep, the parasites and the wolves Business Реклама Recent Posts « » Leadership – the sheep, the parasites and the wolves August 19th, 2008 | Author: admin Leadership – The Sheep, The Parasites And The Wolves

Organisational and team success factors are key parts of management training courses and examples of leadership styles that contribute to organisational and team success are often studied. If you look at organisations who demonstrate success in recent years you will notice that they share some common characteristics. Key to these are their attitude to creating value by being different from the rest. With this attitude clearly in your mind you should question whether your attitude to creating value is sheep-like, parasite-like or wolf-like.

Sheep have three characteristics. Firstly, they are only happy when they are in a flock. Secondly they are short-sighted and can only see the grass which is directly under their noses (they are the ones that want to be shepherded on management training courses rather than think for themselves!). And thirdly, when they are upset they run arround in circles bleeting pathetically.

In recent years, some of companies have behaved like sheep. They only feel content when doing the same as their competitors, providing the same services, using the same promotions etc. They still think about short-term, short-sighted factors such as, for example, the monthly market share data. They end up allowing themselves to be shaken-up regularly by the number one panic factor. Which is what? Price politics! As soon as they become aware of a strategic price move by a competitor, they panic: They ignore all other marketing techniques and focus on price politics.

Not only is this a sign of panic but, worse still, a sign of lack of imagination! They have few if any new ideas for their long term success.

When they talk about competitors, they speak almost exclusively about the tough price competition. I don’t respect sheep. Neither do I want to live like these conformists, just to end up in the frying pan some day.

Now for the parasites. Perhaps you are wondering what parasites do for the planet. The answer is absolutely nothing. Parasites also have three characteristics: Firstly, they need another person to live on as they can not live alone. Secondly they transmit diseases. Perhaps their one small positive feature is that they kill the weak.

Parasites, therefore, never design new products or services. We would not even expect them to come up with new packaging. Parasites do not take responsibility for their companies: social engagement is foreign to them. All they are capable of is feeding off their competitors’ ideas and developments.

The illness most frequently transmitted by parasites is action-itis: They inform their clients that more money could be saved by buying their products. They solemnly declare that their copy of a product is more profitable than the named brand. These activities always have the same result: excessive promotions will ruin price and profit levels in an entire business sector. What about the one positive characteristic of parasites? Are they really in a position to kill off the weaker competitors they live by? They will only manage this if:

a) The company they attack stops investing in their brand and product quality and b) The company plays the price game with the parasite. The parasite wins if their competitor allows a price war to develop.

Now to the wolf, who is perhaps the most misunderstood animal on this planet. What do you know about them? First of all, wolves are independent, they are loners, and are not found together in large packs for long. Secondly, the wolf is a nomad but also has a base. For several seasons they will remain in an area, provided it is suitable, and will defend this territory for as long as it holds value for them. Thirdly, sheep are eaten by wolves. The wolf has a lot of admirable characteristics for success in today’s challenging climate!

Just as the three most important things in the property market are “location, location, location”, for successful companies it is “be different, be different, be different again!”

Whilst this approach is no guarantee of success, management training courses usually conclude that it is certainly an important requirement that the leadership of the company should communicate to the team.

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