Leadership & Management

Lead the Way

Photo Credit: 3D Team Leadership Arrow Concept, Scott Maxwell, Flickr

The conversation surrounding leadership and management is an important one. While management was a major emphasis in the 20th century, focusing on stability and control, leadership has come to the forefront later in the 20th century and into our current time. In contrast to stability and control, leadership emphasizes valuing change, valuing people, empowerment of people, and the central place of relationships in organizational life.

Leadership and Management Described

John Kotter provides a helpful overview of the distinction between leadership and management. Management’s orientation around stability and control is characterized by dimensions such as (a) planning and budgeting, (b) organizing and staffing, and (c) controlling and problem-solving. leadership’s orientation around people, empowerment, and relationships is characterized by (a) direction-setting, (b) aligning, and (c) motivating.

Processes vs. People

While management focuses on stability and efficiency of processes, leadership focuses on navigating people and systems toward change and insuring that the team or organization is focused on the right things. The language of processes and people is also helpful. Management tends to be more process and object focused; leadership tends to be more people and human resource focused.

Efficiency vs. Effectiveness

The temptation is to raise one of these as more important than the other. Organizations and followers need both stability (management) and change (leadership). Organizations and followers need both efficiency (management) and effectiveness (leadership). In contrasting the two, I think my natural tendency is to focus on the big picture and whether or not we are making progress toward the right goals for our community. Because of this, I need to regularly and intentionally ensure that the managerial side of my departments is not being lost in the leadership emphasis.

Pursuing Both in Your Practice

Whether we tend toward leadership or management, we need to remember that our organizations need both. Make sure that you know your tendency so that you may give attention to balancing this out in your own practice and through the diverse people brought onto your team.

People, Planet, and Profit — Business Leaders and Sustainable Economics

United States Capitol

Photo Credit: United States Capitol, Justin A Irving, purposeinleadership.com

Today I had the pleasure of meeting with a group of business and political leaders at the United States Capitol in Washington, DC. Facilitated by The Washington Institute, a group of leaders who are interested in the integration of faith and work gathered to hear insights from key leaders in Washington.

Economics of Mutuality

One of these senior business leaders was Jay Jakub of the Mars Corporation who shared a great deal about the corporation’s thinking on the economics of mutuality. Jakub began by noting that if you want to make money for a year you ask one set of questions, but if you want to make money for 100 years you ask different questions. The 100-year questions revolve around mutuality and sustainability, and challenge the purely profit-driven approach to business rooted in Milton Friedman’s economic theory.

A Triple Bottom Line

To summarize the in-depth presentation we heard, Mars is aggressively piloting and pursuing a Triple Bottom Line approach to business and economics.  While a single bottom line approach is the norm in most business—particularly within publicly traded companies—Mars and other corporations are growing in also taking the bottom line of people and planet seriously as well. Taking profit, planet, and people seriously in the corporate environment means identifying and implementing metrics to measure performance in all three bottom line variables of People, Planet, and Profit.

Triple-Bottom-Line

The Triple Bottom Line & The Economics of Mutuality

Myopic Economics

Economic approaches that isolate only one of these variables will err. A profit-only approach to business burdens people and damages the environment. A planet-only approach to business often is unsustainable because it is not profitable, and because the lack of sustainability will not serve people. A People-only approach sounds helpful, but often lacks environmental consciousness and likely will fail in the long run due to an absence of profitability.

Holistic Economics

The key insight I took away from this interaction with Jay Jakub is to pursue business economics in a holistic manner. Pursuing only one bottom line priority is myopic (People, Planet, OR Profit) and is driven by short term questions in pursuit of short term solutions. In contrast to a myopic and short term approach, pursuing the Triple Bottom Line of People, Planet, and Profit leads to a business economic model that is bearable, equitable, viable, and ultimately sustainable.

I’m hopeful that Mars and many other companies will make a successful transition from the single bottom line to the triple bottom in the next decade. Societal, economic, and human flourishing in our world under God’s care will benefit greatly from such transformation!