Progressive leadership and its positive impact on business growth
If you thought running a business was easy, think again. It is not.
Let us clarify that statement a little more. Literally speaking, running a business may not be difficult, if by running we are merely referring to going through the motions of running it, without worrying about its direction. But running it in a manner that enables it to achieve its primary goals, of which usually profit is a big one, is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
Whether we like it or not, this is one of the features of a free market. It does not guarantee success, but a free market perhaps does make it possible for anyone so disposed and resourced, to start a business activity. That being said, the same facility is available to everyone else so disposed, too.
That is competition. And as the winds of free market economics waft down to the furthest corners of the globe, competition is only increasing, not decreasing.
Stepping into a competitive marketplace a short nine years back, oWorkers is proud to be recognized as one of the top three players in the world in its chosen sphere of activity, that of data-based BPO services.
Determinants of business success
Many businesses not only survive but thrive. Even as many others struggle with some even going under.
Clearly, there is no formula that leads to success in business. When one is engaged in a business activity, one has to manage a number of moving parts, many of them dependent on external factors such as the business environment, the marketplace, the supply situation, the demand dynamics, the exchange rate, the availability of suitable manpower, and many others.
Different companies adopt different strategies for weathering the external variables and marching toward their goals. The strategies could be based on cost control or revenue enhancement, specialization or diversification, gradual growth or rapid scale-up, borrowed funds or invested funds, and, of course, many other parameters. As many companies, as many strategies. Nobody can say which would work better in a given situation.
Business success is not about ensuring that the right boxes are ticked. That, even if it is a requirement, can only be considered as a hygiene factor, that everyone will be doing regardless of the circumstances. Business success is about making an impact in a desirable manner.
One of the many factors that oWorkers has been working tirelessly on is ensuring that the technological environment it provides to its clients is among the best in the world. Its facilities are super secure and provide comfort to clients looking for securing their data. Its ISO certifications (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) further bolster its credentials as a secure provider. If there were any loose ends, they tie them up with their GDPR compliance.
Progressive leader as a contributor to business success
While the jury may be out on the various strategies adopted by companies in a bid to achieve success, a consensus seems to be evolving around the role played by a progressive leader as being one of the critical determinants of the success of a business.
It is being recognized that visionary business leaders find ways to succeed. They create a path where one exists. They invent, innovate, and think outside the box. They find solutions in a crisis, instead of buckling under its weight. They believe in themselves and in the power of the business they helm. They have the charisma to galvanize their teams into action. They start with great ideas but take them through to execution. They see more of the opportunity in difficult situations and less of the roadblock.
A progressive leader is not averse to difficulties and change. He recognizes that difficult situations are part and parcel of life, and of business. He is not afraid to challenge the status quo, at times even without difficulty staring the company in its face.
oWorkers is fortunate to have a leadership team with several years of hands-on industry experience to lead them through calm and stormy conditions. At times, their clients look up to their management team for advice on their initiatives.
Qualities of a progressive leader
But what exactly constitutes the progressive leader that we have been eulogizing?
As earlier discussed in the context of business success, merely acting out the role of a manager or boss is not enough to qualify one as a leader. In fact, a leader is not a role or designation. He does not even have to be a manager or boss to be one. As with business, a progressive leader is one who can make an impact in the right manner.
Though there is no finite list of traits that a progressive leader must possess to be recognized as one, we have identified a few that seem to be common to the best visionary leaders.
The greatest leaders mobilize others by coalescing people around a shared vision. —Ken Blanchard
A progressive leader needs to be able to see beyond the next mountain in his path. He needs to have the vision to see the ‘big picture,’ and how the different pieces of the jigsaw fit together.
But that, again, is not enough. What he does with the vision is equally important. He needs to possess the ability to fire the imagination of others in the organization with the same vision and its importance and create the urge to work towards it together. Vision is meaningless if not translated into action.
The oWorkers teams everywhere in the world, in all its delivery centers, are geared to operate on a 24×7 schedule when required, to translate vision into action, for themselves and for their clients.
Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand. —General Colin Powell
This can also be called decisiveness.
Progressive leaders make decisions not because they have been delegated authority by the company to do so and they have an official memorandum to substantiate that authority, but because the business needs that decision, whether they were delegated that authority or not.
To that extent, they could be considered risk-takers. Some might view this ability as an endangerment of the existing business model, and there may be some truth in the belief. In general, most large corporations have a system of checks and balances in place that prevent deviant employees to create chaos. So, the counterargument to this view would be that since you were able to make that decision, the business had implicitly awarded everyone that authority. However, when the time came, only the progressive leaders could stand up and do so. It has also been seen that people who have the ability to take decisions in times of need, usually have the perspective to weigh the pros and cons before doing so.
Having chosen to work with employees, and not contractors and freelancers as some of their competitors seem to prefer, oWorkers reaps rich returns. Committed staff grow in the organization and take on greater responsibilities and create a distributed decision-making edifice that enables oWorkers to respond swiftly in all situations.
It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership. —Nelson Mandela
It is eventually about people. Everything is.
People as customers, people as colleagues, people as team members, people as partners and vendors, and people as managers. Working with people requires human skills a lot more than the technical skills that may be demanded by a role.
One of the reasons people are drawn towards well-known companies and brands, apart from the compensation-related considerations, is their need to feel that they are a part of something that is larger than themselves. Employees and colleagues want to be a part of all that is good in the company.
Progressive leaders understand this and do not shy away from sharing ideas and thoughts openly. They are not shy of criticism. They understand that the criticism is meant for improvement, and is not directed at them personally. In an earlier era, it was common to bake ideas fully inside boardrooms before sharing them with a larger set of employees. Progressive leaders are engaging employees at every stage of the decision-making.
oWorkers, on account of its policies, is recognized as a leading employer in its catchment areas from where it draws talent. For this reason, it rarely needs to spend money in attracting talent. People line up to vie for jobs with them. This eventually benefits clients as the savings find their way back to clients through the pricing mechanism.
Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. —Publilius Syrus
Rome was not built in a day.
We know that, do we not?
Building a business is not very different. It happens over a period of time. It needs to be done brick by brick. It acquires knowledge over a period of time. Its message takes time to percolate down to its clients over a period of time. Its processes and operational techniques improve over a period of time.
Resilience, also called patience by some, is needed to tide over these long periods of time when nothing seems to happen. In the olden days, when ships relied on winds to move if the winds suddenly stopped there was no choice but to be patient, minimize effort and expenditure, and wait out the period. A progressive leader needs the resilience to switch between active action-oriented leadership and a low-activity resource-conservation one, knowing there is a bright future up ahead.
The goal is the long-term success of the enterprise.
oWorkers ability to support clients in over 20 languages is a good example. They have steadfastly followed a policy of multicultural and multinational workforce through good and bad times. One of the resultant benefits has been the development of a multilingual workforce.
I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. —Ralph Nader
The final stamp of success on the style of a progressive leader could be considered to be the moment when he has been able to inspire others in the organization to learn from him and act like him for the betterment of the company’s prospects and future.
And he is well placed to do so. We have already established that he is communicative and not shy about taking criticism. He is willing to involve others during the decision-making process, instead of merely handing out decisions to them. This enables others to feel like an integral part of the organization, responsible for its success and failure. This group is much more likely to step up and become progressive leaders when the time comes.
oWorkers operates with a team of quality analysts (QAs) who are empowered to keep a check on delivery output. In essence, it helps in identifying and correcting instances of poor delivery before they are able to negatively impact the client’s business. This team has direct access to the leadership team and escalates issues to them that need immediate attention.
A visionary leader is best placed in the modern business environment to lead the company to long-term success. Respect cannot be demanded, they say. Unlike leaders of a past generation who expected or demanded respect by virtue of their role and designation, the modern-day leader is aware of the limitations of that approach.
His method is different. He communicates and shares openly, sees employees and colleagues as equals, only doing different jobs for the company, but equally important ones, and is not afraid to take feedback on the chin. Many successful progressive leaders are building organizations where many others are stepping up and doing the same.
Together, everyone succeeds.