The Great Debate UK
- Dr Martin Clarke, Director of Leadership Development Programmes at Cranfield School of Management in the UK. The opinions expressed are his own. -
With an understandable focus on the short term demands of recession, the leaders’ role of generating debate about future priorities is never more crucial. In difficult times the tendency to force decisions, to be seen to act, can often mean an organisation’s strategic assets can get thrown out with the bath water.
Leaders who can create space for informed discussion will not only ensure that tomorrow’s plans are well grounded but also provide the foundations for committed and engaged execution as the upturn begins to gain traction. Such strategic debate is predicated on two key leadership attributes.
First, it requires a well developed external perspective; a knowledge of what is going around your business, a facility that was apparently in short supply in Lehman Brothers. This extends beyond the occasional external contact and attendance at industry events. It demands disciplined attention on and engagement with diverse events, people and ideas that may well fall outside an executive’s comfort zone.