Everyday Leadership: Influencing Your Company’s Culture and Strategy As An Individual Contributor

By Mostafa Sayyadi

In the absence of effective leadership, organizations are not capable of effectively implementing changes at the competitive level. In this article, the author places a new emphasis on leadership and its implementation by executives at all organizational levels in companies. The implementation of leadership enables organizations to cultivate an effective corporate strategy coupled with cultural changes to remain competitive.

 

Executives are faced with challenging economic conditions today with global competition increasing and the need to be number one or two in an industry or fail to keep up with the market place. This new economic environment may have a negative emotionality that can seriously reduce people’s capabilities in changing and overcoming challenging situations. To offset the negativity associated with widening the gaps of success and failure, executives that act as leaders can manage a firm’s internal resources (corporate culture and corporate strategy) and use them as an important driving force for business success. This may be the answer executives need but may also lack the fundamental fortitude necessary to be an all-encompassing model to predict customer satisfaction, employee or follower satisfaction, and financial profitability. Executives that embrace leadership around the globe realize that they have a positively impact on corporate culture and corporate strategy and play a critical role to achieve the best climate for implementing strategic changes that create learning and growing the organization.1 This effective leadership will be covered in-depth throughout the rest of the article with the main focal point being introduced here as the simple application of leadership, which is describes in the following sections.

 

How Can Leaders Leverage the Power of a Strategic Approach?

In the military, leaders often provide what is called “Top Cover” flying above their followers to ensure their mission is a success. Submarines travel with pilot ships to guide them. This is what you and executive need to do. Leadership, being the core of management, is crucial to organization’s success – both from a performance and management level. However, leaders across the globe have found that corporate strategy is critical to business success. Corporate strategy could be the most important component of success in this ever changing business environment of today. This, by far, is why some organizations are successful and some are not. The key take-away for executives is that corporate strategy is a resource that enables organizations to solve problems and create value through improved performance and it is this point that will narrow the gaps of success and failure leading to more successful decision-making.2,3

Executive that implement corporate strategy as an important driving force for business success find their organization to be more competitive and on the cutting edge. However, corporate strategy implementation in large corporations is determined by a set of critical success factors, one of which is the strategic dimension of leadership.4 Thus, one tool for executives to use when considering on lessoning the gaps between success and possible failure, is to adopt leadership and implement corporate strategy. One that can be immediately applied to limit the gaps between success and possible failure. Thus, the burden of success when effective implementation of corporate strategy is concerned is heavily dependent on the capabilities of the organization’s leaders. Therefore, the outcome is success which narrows the gap between success and failure and this can be achieved by corporate strategy and facilitated by an executive acting as a facilitative-leader.

Executives evaluate the success of corporate strategy. Corporate strategy reflects the degree to which a company can expand and determine the right pathway to success. The key function of corporate strategy is to help executives use it for goals achievement.5 In this context, corporate strategy is becoming the forefront to success in corporations worldwide. Success, therefore, is dependent upon how executives formulated their organization’s strategy. Thus, corporate strategy has been a focal point of executive span of control but has not been associated with leadership enough to make it an integral part of organizational success. Leaders, in fact, positively impact corporate strategy implementation through enhancing the dynamic relationships among employees and departments, but most importantly, through satisfying customer needs and adding to financial success. However, financial success does not come overnight, it encompasses consistent hard work and absorbing several useful pointers from various financial coaching experts. One outcome of corporate strategy is to connect knowledge with other companies that want to share successes and failures. It is about getting the information needed to be successful in the right hands of executives worldwide. Leaders can inspire organizational members to network with more successful competitors by sharing successes to build alliances and not only enhance competition but communicate best practices as a way of keeping the highest standard of operation in the industry and being the go-to organization for successful modeling of profitability, customer service, and employee satisfaction. In doing this, leaders implement corporate strategy to develop relationships with external environments to identify new opportunities that occur in an ever-changing hypercompetitive marketplace. Leaders, in fact, implement corporate strategy to expand the growth opportunities available to organizations that may be challenging but important to close the gap between success and failure. This leads to converting acquired knowledge into organizational processes and activities to improve or discontinue processes that contribute success. Therefore, leadership is pertinent to corporate strategy implementation and an organization’s success.

 

Does Corporate Strategy Really Build Corporate Culture?

Executives focus on individuals as the major source of knowledge, and show how follower’s ties together so that they can affect the sharing, storage, transfer, and apply knowledge within organizations. Executives, therefore, see these connections, and the related shared knowledge and memory, as central to the effectiveness of corporate culture. Executives know that corporate strategy through sharing individual knowledge around the organizations can positively contribute to build a strong corporate culture. Therefore, executives should build an atmosphere of trust and openness and use corporate strategy to convert individual knowledge into valuable resources for their organization to close the performance gap and help organizations prosper.6,7 The key is for executives to inculcate corporate culture within organizations so that information can be found and used instantaneously. Corporate culture enables organizations to promote the depth and range of knowledge access and sharing within companies.

Executives can now see how leadership not only can directly support corporate strategy, but it can also cultivate an effective strategic decision making process, which will enable corporate culture within organizations.

Corporate culture is enhanced though providing further opportunities and information sharing. Executives can enhance knowledge sharing by providing access to knowledge, and stimulate new ideas and knowledge generation, transfer an individual’s knowledge to other members and departments, and improve knowledge capturing, storing, and accumulating, aiming at achieving organizational goals. Executives that employ corporate strategy can propel knowledge sharing in the company to generate more innovative ideas and solutions for new and demanding issues that come up constantly in our hypercompetitive economic environment. In doing this, executives can employ corporate strategy though implementing coaching and mentoring practices by sharing experiences gained by imitating, observing and practicing. Executives that use corporate strategy have found that it builds a strong corporate culture through facilitating knowledge sharing throughout all levels of the organization. Corporate strategy focuses on defining and recognizing core knowledge areas, coordinating expert opinions, sharing organizational knowledge, and scanning for new knowledge to keep the quality of their products or services continuously improving. Corporate strategy, therefore, is an essential requirement of corporate culture by which knowledge is shared among people.

However, executives may lack the required corporate strategy to interact with other organizations or distrust sharing their knowledge.8,9  Executives are, therefore, clearly the right focal point for developing networking with environmental components by adopting corporate strategy to develop relationships and interactions. They key here is to inspire their organizations as a whole to develop networking with more effective enterprises through employing corporate strategy directed at connecting knowledge with other companies. Executives are finding that corporate strategy creates a shared understanding about problems which can develop an effective corporate culture that enhances the knowledge sharing process. Through the corporate strategy, executives could build a climate inspiring followers to share their knowledge, and facilitate the knowledge sharing process. Thus, executives can apply corporate strategy to enhance knowledge sharing among human capital and stipulate knowledge to be shared around the organization and with other companies.

 

In Conclusion

Executives can now see how leadership not only can directly support corporate strategy, but it can also cultivate an effective strategic decision making process, which will enable corporate culture within organizations. Leadership has a significant effect on organization’s internal resources. Executives can also see that cultivating an effective strategic plan coupled with cultural issues requires developing leadership within organizations – not only at the higher echelons of the organization but at every level. Thus, in light of the increased pressures of the global workplace that inspires leaders to exert effective change at the organizational level, this article points out the vital importance of leadership in reshaping an organization’s internal resources to have access to more effective strategic initiatives and higher performing culture within organizations. This article also suggests that both internal resources of corporate strategy and corporate culture constitute the foundation of a supportive workplace to improve business success and reduce operational risk. Standing on the shoulders of scholars before us, I indicate that corporate strategy and corporate culture are major internal resources for business success and support the positive impact of these two vital factors on business success.

About the Author

Mostafa Sayyadi, CAHRI, AFAIM, CPMgr, works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies, and helps companies – from start-ups to the Fortune 100 – succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to HR.com and Consulting Magazine and his work has been featured in these top-flight business publications.

References
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2 Cohen, M.D., & Sproull, L.S. (1996). Organizational Learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
3 Talke, K. (2007). Corporate mindset of innovating firms: Influences on new product performance. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 24, 76-91.
4 Bass, B.M., & Avolio, B.J. (1997). Full range leadership development: Manual for the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire, California: MindGarden.
5 Zheng, W., Yang, B. & Mclean, G. N. (2010). Linking organizational culture, structure, strategy, and organizational effectiveness: Mediating role of knowledge management. Journal of Business Research, 63(7), 763-771.
6 Lee, H., & Choi B. (2003). Knowledge management enablers, processes, and organizational performance: an integrative view and empirical examination. Journal of Management Information Systems, 20(1), 179-228.
7 Fugate, B.S., Stank, T.P., & Mentzer, J.T. (2009). Linking improved knowledge management to operational and organizational performance. Journal of Operations Management, 27(3), 247-264.
8 Jianbin, C., Yanli, G., & Kaibo, X. (2014). Value Added from Knowledge Collaboration: Convergence of Intellectual Capital and Social Capital.  International Journal of u- and e- Service, Science and Technology, 7(2),.15-26.
9 Zehua, Z. (2012). Knowledge Collaboration (KC) and the relationship between KC and some related concepts. Library and Information Service, 8, 107–112.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.