For the last 6 months I have been investing in myself, taking on some actual career development in an entirely new area. It has proven to be an exciting challenge yet it has alerted me to the sad reality that most of us never get this opportunity once settled into our chosen professions. Its value can be hugely underestimated by business, especially among smaller organisations and committing the time can also be a huge barrier.
The course I have undertaken (with VSI) has involved finding out if I have what it takes to become the CEO of a Sporting Organisation. As a freelance broadcaster, I can safely say this isn’t because I have delusions of sliding into a top job but simply fueled by 2 years of living through some of the worst examples of leadership displayed by a Government. It has made me question what makes someone “inspirational” and reflect on whether or not leadership itself is something that can be, or indeed, should be taught.
Watching Boris’s cataclysmic fall from grace is a reminder of the importance of emotional intelligence, humility and authenticity – all highly sought after skills for the modern corporate world. Yet governing a country seems to attract entirely the reverse. Obstinacy, arrogance and egocentricity seem to thrive there, often becoming the prerequisites for survival and, whilst it can be lonely at the top, bad behaviour often isn’t called out until it reaches a point of becoming untenable. As we enter a new era with a unique set of challenges, the corridors of power must now try to adapt, reconfigure and allow a new breed of leader to step forward to get the job done.
When it comes to the world of business, C-Suites have undergone rapid and diverse change. Whilst there is still much room for improvement, there we find a landscape open to evolution and striving hard to reflect our modern day world. The mechanics of a boardroom are a fascinating place and the deeper you delve (especially in sport) there is a direct correlation between what goes on behind the scenes, fundamentally driving success both on and off the field.
Undeniably real change is hard to create and cultural shifts can take years to get right. Yet without those at the top being open to self-reflection and committed to becoming “the best they can be” there will be a choke point, especially in Government which prevents more competent future leaders from emerging. Moreover, the value of diversity should never be underestimated. It has been proven this can lead to more rapid and efficient decision making in business. We are still such a long way from where we need to be. Leaders must understand what it takes to cultivate and maintain those environments or stand and be counted for their actions.