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  • Sonia Gavira

A holistic approach to leadership - keeping all your stakeholders in mind whilst reinforcing your br

Over the last few years I have had the privilege of working in a number of high profile organisations with equally recognisable brands. These organisations have all had great vision and great plans plus amazing people to execute them – and yet time and time again, I see these plans fall short of original expectations. Initially I got sucked into the “politics” argument, that is to say that “it’s all due to organisational politics”. And although I guess I can still see what that means, that statement takes us down a very negative road with not much hope for a solution.

Recently it has become much clearer…

One of the skills we teach as management and leadership trainers is the art of delegation. One person cannot do it all, and as a person rises through the organisational ranks, this skill is essential in order to enable them to get everything done that falls within their responsibilities. This is good. This is how different departments get set up with people who specialise in a particular skill set – finance, HR, Marketing, Operations, etc – working within one of those departments.

What happens however is that the leader who delegates still has to retain overall responsibility for it all to work and has to ensure that the strands all come together. In reality, when we get to how all the different departments work together to achieve the vision of the company, it’s the CEO or MD who is delegating and who has to bring this all together. And yet the CEO’s attention can be taken away from this and to other important areas – the shareholders, the media, local and national government, etc. Then add to that individual goals and objectives and budgets to be allocated to the different tasks and that is when the word “politics” starts to be used and when we see “silos” rather than departments emerging.

In recent years there has been a focus on the customer particularly in retail and the world of customer engagement has grown. At the same time there has been a focus on the wellbeing of employees, so employee engagement has grown. These two strands are managed and owned by different parts of the business – sales and marketing own the customer and HR owns the employee. However, particularly in retail, the employee is the one that delivers the service and product to the customer, they are the representatives of your brand and as such, should understand it and live its values better than anyone. And yet silos appear and the ultimate aim of the organisation is lost in the fight between the two.

This is where the model above comes in…

Leadership’s role sits within the triangle illustrated above – they set and drive towards the vision, whilst aligning the company identity, beliefs and values, capabilities, behaviours and the environment across both the customer and employee experience, so that they are shared and lived throughout the organisation. In this way the customer experience will be truly authentic as the employees will be delivering it from a “heart” place, not just a “learned” or “head” place.

This means that heads of departments need to work together on the same projects always with the end vision in mind rather than with their departmental needs in mind. This behaviour will then translate to the rest of the organisation.

Matrix managed organisations were set up to try to achieve this, but this goes beyond that to a much more self managed, self organised environment, focused on a very clear vision and set of values.

The CEO or MD is still the one that needs to bring this all together and he or she needs support to do this. Someone from outside the organisation, with no agenda apart from that set by the CEO, able to challenge him or her when they appear to deviate from the vision and able to hold the vision for all the parts of the organisation, is key. Someone not embroiled in the politics but with a mandate to roll up their sleeves and help get things done where necessary.

At valueU we partner with you to create this alliance helping to optimize the strategic plans and projects you have in place, working top down and bottom up with your teams to ensure that the vision is delivered.

NEXT – Marketing and HR – a match made in Brand heaven

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To start the discussion, call Sonia on +44 (0)7808916490 or email me at

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