It Begins with Enlightened Leadership

Working this week in Hyderabad, India.  Here, many of the largest companies in the world outsource for the “cost arbitrage,” taking advantage of lower labor costs, and a world-class business school. But, we all know the fallacy of outsourced operations that fail to deliver value.  They apparently train and manage to “politeness and courtesy,” foregoing any apparent interest in customer problem-solving!  Have you ever called Delta Airlines to modify your ticket, or Adobe to get tech support?

My client is one US business operating here that appears to know how to manage to brilliance — actually doing what’s needed for getting to insight — while passing along cost advantages to their clients. It begins with enlightened leadership.

A few weeks ago, Michelle Shail noted, “The tough part [of developing and growing a business] is identifying and developing leaders with the courage, resiliency and participative nature to identify the present, future and the how-to’s.”

The ultimate business challenge is to align behavior, investments, programs, and products to consistently deliver a distinctive and valuable impression to customers. Not surprisingly, the business leaders who insist on core social values in decision-making probably have customer relationships that are generative. This translates into spontaneous, robust referrals — and so the business grows (and at the lowest cost of sales).

Takes courage. Takes core values. Takes a genuine people-oriented leadership strategy.  I haven’t met a sociopathic person in high authority who can pull this off.

What’s called for is what some call “people leadership:” courageous, resilient, participative, with high social values  — and the insistence on placing people first.

How have we come to accept it’s “leadership” when it’s not people-oriented?  How have we allowed everyone who has any authority to be regarded automatically as a leader?