View from the 40th Floor: Change at the Top and Bottom


(Part 4 of a series by Bert Decker)

“If we don’t change our model, we are going to crash.” 

Those were the words of the leader of one of our multi-billion dollar clients, which accents the amazing changes in leadership over the last 40 years

As we close out the decade, let’s look at how leadership has become decentralized and team-oriented. Consider the following shifts and how a leader’s communications play an even more critical role. 

1. The Days of Centralized Leadership in Business are Long Gone. 

  • Leadership is something that’s required at every level of an organization—from a new call center associate to a department head. And to succeed in today’s ever-changing, tech-enabled, global business climate, all leaders need to know how to influence. It’s a lesson I learned the hard way – trial and error to get to collaboration. 
  • Ken Blanchard is a friend of mine (and the very successful author of The One Minute Manager) who knows well the changes in leadership over the last 40 years. He says, “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.”
  • For the C-suite, decentralization also means it’s critical to communicate a vision that cascades through the organization

2. The Power of Teams 

  • The job of today’s leaders is most importantly to build leaders within their companies and promote the influential to be the leader of a team.
  • Forbes says it best; when problems are so complex, it takes teams to solve them. Whether it’s implementing radical new ideas or breaking down silos and barriers, teams are how business gets done today. 
  • And when it comes to teams and communicating, trust is critical. When teams work well, nothing can get in their way. When teams are dysfunctional, disorganized, or unclear on their purpose, businesses can crash.
  • To work, teams need a shared language and the ability to learn and spread knowledge to solve problems – that takes more specialized communications coaching and consulting. Here’s a tool we’ve mentioned often, The Decker Grid™, that helps ensure consistent communication throughout a team.

3. Communications Elevated 

  • Building and equipping strong teams is a skill, and communications are at the heart of it. 
  • It means leaders are the creators and enablers of teams that can move quickly to seize opportunities and confront challenges. 
  • It means being an excellent communicator in every facet of business life, from short rides on the elevator to IPO roadshows, from team meetings to industry events, and everything in between. Every communication experience is an opportunity to influence. 
  • Being a leader today is more difficult than ever because it means being excellent at something—communications— that transcends the traditional business skills in finance, marketing, or strategy. It means being able to move and inspire an organization, in sync, and at a rapid pace. 

Not surprisingly, communicating has become the single most important skill that leaders must have to succeed in business today. And we are happy to see that…

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