On Corporate Leadership

garden15Johnson & Johnson’s quality , Ayala’s change centered, JR&A’s human resources were some of the approaches leaders pursue in bringing their respective companies to greatness.

“There is no specific formula for success in leadership,” was the response of Ms. Barbara Gonzales, CEO of J. Romero & Associates, when queried on leadership secrets.

According to Charles M. Farkas and Philippe De Backer in the book Maximum Leadership, while it may be true that there is no specific rule of leading companies to success, there are means by which leaders can get the results that they want for their companies. They summarized these as follows:

Strategic approach: The chief executive acts as the company’s top strategist, systematically envisioning the future and specifically mapping out how to get there.

Human assets approach: The chief executive manages for success through people policies, programs, and principles.

Expertise approach: The CEO champions a specific proprietary expertise, using it to focus the organization.

Box approach: The chief executive builds a set of rules, systems, procedures, and values that essentially control behavior and outcomes within well-defined boundaries.

Change approach: The CEO acts as an agent of radical change, transforming bureaucracies into organizations that embrace the new and different.

The authors found that most CEOs use all of these approaches in some measure, but most focus on one or two as their primary way of steering their companies to greatness.

The change approach was best exemplified by Jaime Augusto Zobel De Ayala II.He says that to win in the marketplace companies must reconfigure. He is well aware of the forces driving today’s business : liberal economy, global economy, technology and environment. Corporate culture was also instilled in the minds of the employees. What is admirable about the Ayalas is patience. They are here for the long term. No quick buck. Investing on infrastructure where return is hardly seen in the immediate future.

The human assets approach was used by Barbara Gonzales at J. Romero & Associates when she was placed to bring back the firm out of decadence. She realized that in her company the real assets are her people. She also recognized that team-building would be ineffective without first building the person within, personal transformation. She also emphasized development and enrichment of people, growth of her firm through growth of people.

The human assets approach is the most popular among leaders. It means designing powerful training systems and coherent programs for measuring performance. It means monitoring relationship with people. It means clearly teaching employees desired values and behaviors. Human assets leaders empower people to act on their own.

Johnson & Johnson’s approach is a combination of box , expertise, and strategic, but for most part, it is box. President Rodriguez set rules, values and procedures, laid out a specific mission which satisfies all the stakeholders. The leadership approach – all according to most business books. One guiding principle in Johnson’s approach is quality. President Rodriguez coined it as “The signature of quality.” The companies mission statement is focused on customer satisfaction through quality products. His leadership approach revolve around people, products, processes and the environment – all supporting each other.

Fr. Ben Niebres took us to the essence of leadership – vision. Core ideology is the guiding light. It is built around a fundamental belief, a basic principle. The style of visionary leadership, as what he coined it, is going for the goal in response to the rapid changing environment.

Price Waterhouse is very admirable. No values no client. Their leadership style focuses on the people and the company’s rule o integrity. Very commendable. To its employees continuous training is offered. Mrs. Corazon Santos Dela Paz should be commended.

I would classify PLDT’s Antonio Samson’s approach of leadership as a combination of expertise, change, and strategic. He defined leadership of companies as being first or ahead in something. First in the industry, in market share, in innovation. He classified companies into three groups: “rule takers,” those who are efficiency concerned, bottom line focused; “rule makers,” those who set the industry as in ABS-CBN arbitrarily jacking up TV ad rates; “rule breakers,” as in Channel 9’s Marimar – altering supposedly standard TV programming. Mr. Samson’s approach while a combination of the three is for the most part, expertise. It was exhibited when he focused on defining the industry. Leaders should define the industry – what leadership position would a company take? This was also authors Fred Wiersema and Treacy mentioned in “The Discipline of Market Leaders.” Identify, define what value proposition a company is pursuing: is it best product, best service, or best price.

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