Leadership & Management in the 21st Century

Because of technology and the internet, ideas are emerging resulting in almost every known business model in the process of being disrupted, re-invented, or re-imagined. New products and services are emerging at a pace never seen and competition is no longer limited by geographical boundaries. No business model is completely immune to this disruption. But with this new disruption and competition comes massive new opportunity. It has never been easier to create new business models and to address national or global audiences.

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The Modern Leader
For any region to be relevant in this emerging future global economy, ideas must be nurtured to build and grow companies that participate in these new methods of value creation. Modern leaders, coined Strategic hustlers™, are the explorers and authors of this new way of life and work. The Strategic hustler™ is a strategic thinker who has the desire to excel, discipline to learn, and determination to perform in the most challenging of circumstances. They embrace C.H.A.N.G.E. the titled acronym, [Creating a Healthy And New Growth to Excellence] because they are comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Their P.R.I.D.E. the titled acronym, [Passion, Respect, Integrity, Discipline, Execution] is driven by a strategic attitude, strategic aptitude, and strategic altitude, or strategic thinking enablers, to turn their dreams (personal and professional) into reality.  They apply the appropriate knowing and doing behaviors, which requires being flexible (AGILE), upfront (LEADERSHIP), and in-control (GRIP) of their lives and the situation. Moreover, our spiritual connection gives us the faith and courage to aim for the universe, press on and never give up.

Leading in the 21st Century
The leadership behavior framework to becoming a 21st Strategic hustler™ is A.G.I.L.E. L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. with a G.R.I.P.; which defines world-class leadership behaviors and management best practices to successfully execute strategy. Leaders must formulate strategy and then articulate and communicate it in a manner to empower employees to focus on and work toward a common purpose. The literature and learning opportunities for strategic execution are in abundance brought on by the dismissal performance in executing business strategy experienced by over 85% of companies. The barriers inhibiting execution success include:


Source: Adaption from material developed by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton

The knowing and doing behaviors of the Strategic hustler™ drive strategic execution as they embrace the qualities of:

  1. Be Flexible
  2. Be Upfront
  3. Be In-control

Attitude determines Altitude
Of the three strategic thinking enablers – strategic attitude, strategic aptitude, and strategic altitude. The most important is strategic attitude because it strongly influences the other two.  An organization’s attitude consists of three components: strategy, posture, and culture.  The following diagram shows the strategic attitude for Apple, Coca-Cola, Red Cross, and Ritz-Carlton.


Understanding the corporate attitude helps to understand its people’s attitude.  Recall, an organization cannot be what its people are not.

Strategic Aptitude Drives Strategic Altitude
Learning organizations demonstrate a high strategic aptitude. The condensed table below shows the characteristics of a company with a high level of innovation maturity vs. a company with a low level of innovation maturity. It is key to point out that for companies with a high level of innovation maturity, innovation strategy is linked to business strategy; project managers are viewed as future general managers; and there is an innovation curriculum in place.  Learning organizations embrace a cultural learning model. The model is the basis for effective learning disciplines of systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, building shared vision, and team learning. The altitude an organization desires to attain manifests itself in their mission and vision statements and permeates through the organization through a formal strategic cascading process. It is brought to fruition through a combination of methodologies, tools, and techniques focused on business transformation.

Non-learning organizations represent a low level of innovation maturity. As the table shows, project managers are not viewed as strategic enablers. The culture avoids risks with a play-it-safe maintain the status quo perspective.


Source: Value Innovation Works

The A.G.I.L.E. Framework
The word agile is the goal of every company who desires to excel in the 21st century. Globally, huge investments in people, process, data, and technology are being made to enable companies to reach a digital competency that allows it to become an adaptable business network. The quality of “Be Flexible” is the aim of this A.G.I.L.E. framework. IMHO then end goal of becoming a digital company. The “A” represents five (5) behavior models that interact to support adaptable behavior. These models drive behavior in people, process, information, and technology.The “G” represents the “Ten Goals to Excellence” driving goal-oriented behavior.  My favorite motto is, “Leader of one; leader of many; If you can’t lead one; you can’t lead any.”  The first six (6) goals challenge you to become a leader; the remaining four (4) goals challenge you to help others to become leaders. The “I” represents intelligent behavior identified as the “Six I’s to Intelligent Behavior.” The point being surviving and thriving in the 21st century requires a combination of behaviors. The “L” brings to bear the importance of learning behavior. You learn how the “Cultural Learning Model” works and how the disciplines of systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, building shared vision, and team learning are essential to building a learning organization. The “E” represents effective behavior that goes beyond a tactical sense of execution. Your leadership development programs must create a mindset that focuses on achieving greatness. What are you doing to mold your personal and professional strategic attitude to attain and sustain success?

The L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. Framework
On the surface leadership requires leading change by sharing a vision through empowering and inspiring people.


The dismissal performance in executing business strategy experienced by over 85% of companies globally in my humble opinion suggests a more detail framework is necessary. Each of the behaviors in the L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. framework requires a different application based upon your region, company, and people. For example, Look to Change/Challenge Status Quo may require a different leadership development strategy in Nigeria than in Qatar, or Germany or even the United States. These behaviors are not all-inclusive but the underlying logic [detail in the text book] for each makes them hard-pressed to say they are not relevant world-class leadership behaviors. For example, the behavior Introduce Ideas Based On Uplifting Values speaks to the four principles of value-based leadership: self-reflection, balance, true self-confidence, and humility. The beauty of these four principles is that they can be applied by anyone, whether the president of a country, the chief executive of a company or the junior-most person in an organization. You don’t have to–or want to–wait until you have hundreds of people reporting to you. You can always apply the principles of values-based leadership. It is never too early or too late to become a values-based leader. This is true for all the leadership behaviors listed.


The G.R.I.P. Framework – The Business Case for Combined Leadership and Management
Four workers can make six units in an eight-hour shift without a manager. If I hire you to manage them and they still make six units a day, what is the benefit to my business of having hired you? On the other hand, if they now make eight units per day, you, the manager, have value. The acronym “G.R.I.P.” implies being in control. Said another way, “G.R.I.P.” implies Goal management, Resource management, Interface management, and Performance management. Without it there is no effective and efficiently managed business, organization, or personal life. Bluntly stated, to be an effective leader you must be flexible, upfront, and in control. A good governance framework provides the foundation to applying best practices of management.  Let’s swim a little deeper to look at the surface of G.R.I.P. management. The “G” for goal management involves creating functional sub-goals that support the achievement of the overall organization goals. Failure to set goals that reflect a function’s expected contribution to the entire organization leads to a silo culture. The silo culture forces managers to abandon systems thinking which lead to things “falling between the cracks” or “disappearing into a black hold.” The “R” for resource management involves balancing the allocation of the 8Ms [human power, Materials, Methods, Machinery, Money, Management, Mother Nature, and Measurement] needed to achieve strategic, tactical and operational performance goals.  Resource allocation should enable each function to achieve its goals, thereby making its expected contribution to the overall performance of the organization. Measurements speaks to analytics needed to evaluate performance. The “I” for interface management brings to bear the importance of managing the white spaces on the organization chart. In this capacity, managers resolve functional “turf” conflicts and establish infrastructures to support the collaboration that characterized efficient, effective internal customer-supplier relationships. The “P” for performance management involves obtaining regular customer feedback, tracking actual performance along the measurement dimensions established in the goals, feeding back performance information to relevant subsystems, taking corrective action if performance is off target, and resetting goals so that the organization is continually adapting to external and internal realty.

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