The young founder of an early-stage educational start-up is eagerly brainstorming ideas about how they can potentially transform their go-to-market strategy and penetrate new geographies. The company is in the final stages of bringing their product to market and the founder is bringing to the table several interesting ideas about how the company can reposition themselves in a competitive market, such as creating bundle services for new products.
Another founder of a fin-tech start-up has similar concerns. Every morning, he explores new ideas about how the company can reach out to the market and package their product for it to stand out.
Another company is trying to crack into the admittedly tough public sector. The company has achieved commendable growth so far, but are struggling to keep pace with this growth.
What do These Companies Have in Common? A Strong Need to Develop Capable Leadership.
In the first two examples, the founders must recognise that for their companies to harness their true potential, the companies’ leadership needs must be periodically assessed and addressed. Organisations experimenting with new ideas, processes and strategies must be able to count on leaders who can champion and own these pilots, and incorporate the learning gleaned from these pilots into future plans. This makes leadership planning as vital in the early stages of an organisation, as financial and go-to-market strategies.
The third company, on the other hand, is limited by its ability to hire external talent; it must focus on grooming the right candidates from within the organisation to take up leadership roles from the very get-go. Timely leadership planning, which involves regularly mapping the ability of the current leadership to address the changing needs of the organisation and identify future needs, can make a significant impact on the manner in which growth and change plans are conceptualised and implemented. Founders must introspect about the type of leaders their organisation needs, depending on the stage it is at. those who can develop new organisations, or those who can manage and operate existing businesses. They must also periodically assess the leadership interventions their organisation needs.
Do They Need to Train or Coach Existing Leaders, or Recruit External Talent With Proven Expertise?
Too many organisations indefinitely procrastinate their leadership planning, not realising that this is one of the most strategic requirements of their organisation and hence, cannot be reacted to. It must be built over time, in a structured manner, through focused leadership programmes. Organisations must also routinely assess the efficacy of their leadership programmes to determine whether potential candidates will receive the right exposure to develop the necessary skills and insights to capably address the organisation’s needs. Timely leadership development initiatives also give potential candidates clarity about whether they will be able to grow into a leadership position and whether they will receive the necessary support to confidently essay this role.
To this day, many organisations still struggle with the minutiae of growth such as exploring new markets and products, conducting customer research and changing the way they interact with their customers, because they lack the necessary guidance from their leadership. This has become a pertinent concern in recent years, where several sectors (including the IT industry) experienced unprecedented rapid growth, often faster than many players had anticipated. As a result, many leaders were quite unprepared to take up the roles they had assumed – the frantic pace of growth meant that they had to leapfrog several valuable years of exposure and experience. They often had to learn on the job and, quite naturally, struggled with several aspects of their roles. With several Indian sectors projecting similarly high growth rates, organisations across the board will need to put in place structured leadership assessment and development programmes that will enable them to address gaps and groom their leadership accordingly. This is vital for them to harness and optimise their growth.