Cultivating Leadership at All Levels Within Your Printing Business
The development of an organization over time moves through three stages, owner/operator, owner/manager, and management organization.
Early on, the owner/operator wears many hats and performs a variety of functions. Because the business is lean, this is a necessity.
As the business grows, it moves to the next level, owner manager. Here, the owner is still highly involved in the day-to-day operation, but this effort is supplemented by the addition of professionals brought on to oversee certain functions such as finance, sales and/or production.
As growth continues, the organization moves to the third level, the management organization. Here, the organizational chart may show operating managers heading up different areas of the operation with professional staff reporting to them while they, in turn, report to the owner/CEO.
However, there is a fourth level of organizational growth which all too few businesses reach: The Leadership Organization.
Author and researcher James O’Toole details this in an article titled “When Leadership is an Organizational Trait.” Researching organizational leadership as part of a project with colleagues from the World Economic Forum, O’Toole and his team made an interesting discovery. The most enduringly successful companies do not simply have successful leaders at the top, they also rely on “cascading” leadership by empowering others across the company. The result, “many of the key tasks and responsibilities of leadership are actually institutionalized in the systems, practices, and cultures in the organization.”
Here, responsibility, decision-making, initiative, and accountability are understood, accepted, and shared by team members throughout the organization. Employees behave more like owners and entrepreneurs with special care and attention paid to even the smallest details. The will to be of service to customers and to each other is fully felt and operationalized as part of a comprehensive system. Performance and job-related behaviors are measured by this standard.
Interested in steps you can take to advance your organization? For a checklist of twelve questions to discuss with your leadership team, contact me at email@example.com
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.