Command and control is out. It was on the decline before the quarantine. But now the interconnected world in which we live, and work has accelerated that decline.
Command and control leadership had its time and place. No one argues that. But today’s leaders operate in a different world in which command and control no longer works. Today’s business leaders must deal with volatility, complexity, and uncertainty.
The new leadership paradigm, though, is well-suited to cope with these ever-present conditions. Simon Hayward refers to the new leadership paradigm as Connected Leadership – also the name of his book.
In his book, Hayward identifies five tenets that comprise the new leadership paradigm. They are: (1) Purpose and Direction; (2) Authenticity; (3) Collaborative Achievement; (4) Agility; and (5) Connected Leadership.
This blog post explores these five tenets and how they are changing customer service.
Lets get started.
Purpose and Direction
It all starts at the top. Basically, it starts with leadership. Leaders set the example. Tomorrow’s leaders are people-focused, results-oriented, and ethically-minded.
Leaders accomplish that with clear guidance in the form of strategic vision. It enables strategic alignment with their partners. Also, it creates unity of purpose for employees. More important, that strategic vision goes beyond making a profit.
Last year we saw the business community change its idea of why businesses exist. In the recent past, companies existed to make a profit for their shareholders. Now, businesses exist to benefit not only shareholders but also their customers.
The rise of the progressive left has driven many businesses to address customer values. Now, many businesses reflect customer values in their corporate vision and goals. It’s no longer uncommon hear sustainability and profit discussed alongside one another.
Businesses address customers’ issues addressed in corporate vision and mission statements.
Take the logistics community’s focus on environmental issues. The International Maritime Organization recently implemented a Green initiative to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by shipping lines.
Today’s leaders must keep employees, customers, and society in mind. Customers are extending what it means to be a good corporate citizen. Thus, leaders must address how they may affect society’s larger issues. They do this by examining their impact of their business on society at large.
Authentic leaders reinforce their purpose and direction in two ways. They set the example, and they practice open communications. In setting the example, leaders model the behavior and actions they want their company to display.
Honesty and ethics play a major role for future businesses. Both principles are important to employees as well as customers.
Honesty and ethical conduct engender trust. They help build trust between leaders and employees. And they also help build trust between leaders and customers.
Open communication means communicating with internal and external stakeholders. This is more obvious as businesses move to remote work. In the case of 3PLs, leaders must assure customers they have access to their 3PL partners when they need it. It is incumbent on leaders to ensure that access.
Also, open communication has a multiplier effect that benefits the organization. It gives employees and partners a sense of autonomy as they approach daily business. When all stakeholders believe they can speak without constraints, they feel more vested. That opens the door for more and better suggestions.
This improves customer service as teams identify issues before they become problems. That helps conserve and maximize valuable resources.
Leaders must set the example expected by employees and customer alike. Leader must set the example for their stakeholders to build trusting relationships. Finally, leaders must nurture those growing relationships with open communications.
These leadership tenets cater to a customer-centric approach. Customers become business partners in an extended enterprise. This marks the future of how businesses interact with customers.
As leaders direct power down, they pave the way for self-autonomous teams. Along with increased responsibility, empowered teams gain the capacity to solve issues independently and collaboratively.
This increases efficiency and effectiveness. It ensures customers receive improved service. Collaboration with customers will help inform solutions leading to quicker and better solutions.
Leading edge businesses will adopt a collaborative approach with customers. This model, reinforced by remote work, will energize businesses while eroding inertia. Collaboration will strengthen relationships and reduce red tape.
As customers see their needs met consistently, customer satisfaction rises. Collaborative achievement is the beginning of the end for command and control models.
Empowering teams to work together requires leadership that builds trust. As leaders entrust employees and customers with authority, collaboration will increase.
This tenet follows from the others already discussed. It means companies can enjoy a new level of customer service as they become more agile. By increasing agility, responsive service will result. Nettlesome issues will decline, as businesses meet challenges as they arise.
When leaders focus on achieving agility, they’re preparing customers for successful outcomes. Agility implies the flexibility to adapt in near- or real-time. Increased flexibility can result in increased profits. It can also result in reduced impacts from crises.
But agility does not occur on its own.
Leaders build agility into the fabric of their business. Agility requires a mindset that expects change. The leader establishes that mindset and drives it throughout the business. This tenet also chips away at legacy command and control-run businesses.
Leaders play an important role in preparing businesses for “expected” crises. But for “unexpected” crises, the best leaders can do is to create a framework that enables agility.
When the other tenets mentioned above thrive, they enable agility. Stated otherwise when leaders create an open business culture agility will thrive.
You will see businesses adapt almost automatically to changing circumstances. When that happens, customer service benefits.
This final tenet brings it all together. Connected leadership embraces “decentralized” command and control. It reflects a sharing concept of leadership. Connected leadership shares responsibility as well as authority.
That helps build trust, fosters constant communications, and emphasizes collaboration. It instills organizations with an open culture that achieves results by focusing on customers’ needs.
Furthermore, it helps facilitate outstanding customer service through sharing decision-making with collaborative teams. Connected organizations are better able to deal with the uncertainty and complexity.
Connected leadership recognizes the interconnectedness of all parts of the enterprise. Connected leaders understand and leverage this concept. By pushing power down, leaders use all the tools and talents at their disposal. Hence, they not only rely on, but also enable connectedness.
Connected leadership breaks the status quo through engagement. It calls for engaging employees as well as customers.
Connected Businesses Call for Connected Leadership
Command and control organizations are a dying breed. Businesses now operate in different times that demand effective and efficient leadership. That is, leadership must permeate the entire organization. Tomorrow’s leaders will guide rather than direct their organizations.
It is effective for today’s challenges because it involves the entire business. That includes extended partners. Connected leadership leverages everyone’s talents through collaborative teamwork. That means empowering teams to make decisions at the lowest level.
Operating as empowered entities, teams take their guidance from connected leaders. Tomorrow’s leaders will guide their organizations, while leveraging their teams’ talents.
Are you satisfied with the customer experience you are getting for your 3PL?
Contact us today at American Global Logistics to find out how we elevate the customer experience.