Enterprise Initiatives

This blog focuses on Enterprise IT topics such as Enterprise Architecture, Portfolio Management, Change Management, Business Process Management, and recaps various technology events and news.

In response to some feedback from my favorite critic James McGovern, I will discuss the impacts of leadership on corporate behavior. But first I want to clarify for James the intent of the article that he critiqued called Blogs- the innovation escape hatch. In this article I discussed how social networking allows people to speak more freely and be more innovative then they can be in a corporate environment. I was not discussing social networking in terms of a corporate technology or tool. I was just reflecting on how great it is to see people like James express their views without having to be politically correct all of the time. Oh, and one last thing. James, I don't work for CIO.com. They asked me to participate in their blogging community (for free). So anything I write is my opinion and does not reflect the opinions or beliefs of CIO.com. Enough of that.

Leadership drives corporate behavior. Many people confuse management with leadership. I have seen many people in leadership positions over the years perform entirely tactical duties and not put forth and execute anything strategic. Managers are tactical and are responsible for getting work done. Leaders are transformational and focus on people and culture. There are two basic approaches to leadership that produce two entirely different outcomes, production-oriented leadership and employee-oriented leadership. The production-oriented leader is one who focuses mainly on the technical or task aspects of the job. This type of leadership focuses almost entirely on the bottom line. Organizations with this type of leadership tend to have the following characteristics:

  • Sweatshop mentality
  • Strong reliance on outsourcing
  • Frequent layoffs
  • Low morale throughout the workforce
Production-oriented leadership can be very successful in terms of financial numbers, but it is usually at the expense of people. In cultures like this, introducing intangible technologies like social networking is a challenge. Without a cut and dry ROI, most initiatives don't stand a chance. Social networking is a transformational technology that can create huge increases in productivity, improved communication, employee morale, and innovation. But production-oriented leaders will be challenged to see the benefits and embrace the change.

Employee-oriented leadership emphasizes interpersonal relations and focuses on employee needs. When these leaders say that "our most important assets are our people", they actually mean it. They understand that higher morale leads to higher productivity which results in improved financial results. Organizations with this type of leadership tend to have the following characteristics:
  • Thrive in innovation and creativity
  • High productivity
  • High morale
  • Low turnover
Technologies like social networking can thrive in cultures with employee-oriented leadership. Social networking's strength is the power of groups. When people can collaborate freely on an idea, the idea gets continually refined and improved with the collective intelligence of many. If a corporate culture encourages this type of behavior, the sky is the limit on the gains in productivity and innovation. Social networking doesn't just happen within the corporate walls. Corporations can create powerful social networks that branch out to their customers and partners as well. Would we still need to do those painful annual customer and employee surveys if we had a social network in place? Social networking gives you real time unfiltered feedback that you don't need to hunt for. This is information at your fingertips that you can act on immediately.

Here is a great video from YouTube for those unfamiliar with social networking.


  1. Craig  

    That's a very provocative separation between managing tasks and managing people.

    Does every day have to be one of radical change? Can't we sometimes just get on with the job?

    Craig @ betterprojects

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