But a lot has changed since then ... thanks to digital technology, I can now work closely with colleagues in every corner of the continent. Collaboration is easier, and a new leadership style is emerging.
Forward-thinking organisations are increasingly looking to people at every level of the business to show leadership. This isn’t about everyone doing their own thing or every individual shouting orders – it’s about influence. We can all have a positive influence on the team around us, or the projects we work on. Each of us influences the people around us in different ways, and having a strong, supportive organisational culture will encourage individuals to find their own style of leadership.
In my working life, I like to be challenged in my views. It’s about actively looking for honest feedback on the work I’m doing, and giving other people the space to take their ownership over our work. Over the course of my career, I’ve learnt that you get much more from asking others to take a leadership position in a project. And this is not entirely selfless – my project is stronger and more successful because of their input, which benefits each of us.
If we take this same principle to a bigger scale, we see that those organisations who consciously manage their internal culture are able to thrive. On every metric – from revenue growth to job creation – these organisations are more successful than those who don’t take the time to consciously manage their internal culture*.
This isn’t about handing down rules to follow. It’s about encouraging an atmosphere in which good people are able to flourish, which allows the wider business to do the same.
* John P. Kotter & James L. Heskett, Corporate Culture & Performance