An interesting thing I learned from the reading this week was the concept that a ‘Level 5 Leader’ (Collins, 2005) puts the ambition for their companies ahead of personal ambition. In the real business world this might mean a leader invests in training and not cutting staff for the goal of long term retention and accept the initial capital expenditure as this is better for the company not his own performance measures. How can I relate this to my experience of MikesBikes so far? For me, a ‘Level 5 MikesBikes Leader’ would be someone who puts their own ego aside for the good of the teams shared goals. It also means helping create a team culture of everyone working together, everyone being happy in their roles to achieve personal goals. I believe the process of picking teams with congruent goals is one step toward achieving this but other facets such as each individual’s way of working need to be managed by the ‘Level 5 Leader’. For instance, a ‘Leader 5 Leader’ may communicate when they want decisions or recommendations to be made by but then allow individuals to self-regulate the process and discuss via informal channels, such as social networks.
Probably my main concern from this week, without giving away too much juicy detail about my MikesBikes team, is regarding the decisions that I made to implement a certain strategy did not bring about the desired result. What does this mean? Like everyone else, my group started with a simple overall business strategy and then looked to develop this through all departments. This plan seemed fairly logical for us business minded students. After reading manuals and reports and testing hypotheses on SoloMike I believed I was at a stage of understanding the variables in the game. However, this was not the case. To be honest though I find this encouraging; I need to test new theories, engage in more experimentation and then again reflect on outcomes. In this sense I am trying to be a good leader by following, as per Kelley (1988), by following the CEO’s strategy and then self-regulating. It was only a little galling that this accidental strategy worked well this time. Maybe that’s another valid point to be picked up though- you can prepare pretty well and sometimes luck shines on you. However I would rather prepare smarter and spend more time experimenting now rather than congratulate myself in getting the end result without the process.
It is perhaps more inspiring to have not achieved what I wanted from last week, now there is even greater inspiration for me to work hard this week on MikesBikes. I am merely cycling through Kolb’s Learning Cycle (1976) once more as I reflect on my failed theory and form new concepts to consult when new decisions are to be made.
Collins, J. C. (2005). Level 5 leadership: the triumph of humility and fierce resolve. Harvard Business Review, 83(7/8), 136--146
Kelley, R. E. (1988). In praise of followers. Harvard Business Review, 66(6), 142--148
Kolb, D. A. (1976). Management and the learning process. California Management Review, 8(3), 21--31