Energising a whole organisation, or large numbers of people, is different from energising yourself or your direct reports individually, note Rajeev Peshawaria in ‘Too Many Bosses, Too Few Leaders’ (Free Press). For many, this is the hardest career transition because the rules for success at the enterprise level are different from the time-tested rules that earned them all their success and promotions until this time in their careers, he adds.
What can be worrying is that ‘the very actions and qualities that make a person successful until they embark upon an enterprise leadership position might actually become the reason for failure from this point onward,’ because the most critical transition is the one from ‘I’ to ‘we.’ Cautioning that about three in four careers derail at the point of this transition, the author urges the wannabe leaders to take up the job only if they fully understand what is involved.
For, the job of a leader at the enterprise level is not her success but the success of others, as the book instructs. “Rather than producing results herself, she needs to create conditions that enable large numbers of people to create the desired results. Often, she doesn’t even get credit for the success of the organisation, and she needs to be fine with that… What she needs to be clear about is whether she really wants to lead or to continue as an individual producer.”
The author presents ‘Brains-Bones-Nerves’ as the B-B-N framework that a leader has to create and sustain within the organisation for enabling people to be successful. The ‘brains’ of a business, he explains, are the vision and strategy, which the enterprise leader must shape and set direction. “The bones are the organisational architecture, and here the enterprise leader must design the organisation in order to execute the strategy. The nerves refer to the culture and climate of the organisation.”
Towards the close of the book, the author takes up the oft-asked question – ‘Are leaders born or made?’ Describing good leadership as a function of skill and will, he observes that the skills of leadership can be acquired if someone wants to learn them. What about the ‘will’? Yes, it can be acquired, too, assures Peshawaria. “Thinking about and defining your purpose and values should give you the will for leadership,” he guides.
A book that can effectively be deployed to benchmark the bosses who currently occupy the precious leadership positions.