Why Business get Stuck in “Neutral”

Recently, I have read a number of articles about why businesses’ growth has either stopped, or worst, declined.   Some reasons given for little or no growth are:  the economy, lack of good marketing, wrong product, can’t find the right talent (really!) and my favorite, no one is buying.    I contend there is really only one answer…poor leadership.

If one looks at successful companies, it is the leadership that makes them grow.  Companies with leadership that provides the vision and makes critical decisions are the ones that grow in good times and bad times.

Why is leadership the most critical factor for growth and on-going success?  Leadership not only gives the vision BUT makes the decisions that make the vision a reality.  When leadership knows the vision, then they can make the correct decisions on what products or services should be developed,  They know what the appropriate marketing strategy should be ( Now don’t get confused, leadership does not necessarily actually develop the marketing strategy, but they know the correct one from the wrong ones), they surround themselves with highly qualified management who have the specific expertise required to execute versus poor leadership, who surrounds him/herself with either friends or people who will not challenge leadership’s opinions.   Good leadership is visible to the company and to the world, they articulate thought leadership, instill enthusiasm, develop confidence and pride in fellow employees.

Just look at a few companies and their leadership that have continuous or good growth.  Microsoft and Bill Gates (when Bill talks the world listens), GE and Jack Welsh (talk about making decisions), Larry Ellison (competition look out), Cisco and John Chambers (Cisco’s marketing machine rules). Steve Jobs and Apple, say no more!

Companies with poor leadership exhibit the following attributes:  no charisma, no enthusiasm, doesn’t know their markets and customers, don’t enable others to do their job and are not visible both internally and externally.

So before one blames, sales or marketing or product development; take a look at the direction that is being stated and how it is being executed.  Success in companies starts at the top, BUT it can’t just be words or window dressing, it has to be leadership by acting and LEADING!


RHL 9/12/12







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