Only a few star performers deliver exceptional results and valuable ideas within their organizations. These individuals define the talent levels that their organizations need to gain crucial advantages. However, to be their best, these stars require strong organizational structures and effective leadership.
Leaders who lead exceptional individuals must understand that while such stars offer more, they also expect more. Stars want to work on teams made up of other stars and for organizations that define themselves by their excellence. They also want to work for strong leaders and within cultures that:
* Foster growth.
* Pave clear pathways for success.
* Create day-to-day experiences for them to achieve their goals and satisfy their need for accomplishment.
Great organizations understand and embrace their paradoxes. They respond quickly to changing global conditions, yet hold fast to their missions and values. They preserve their defining principles while replacing outmoded aspects that no longer serve. They manage the risk of innovation and acknowledge that past performances and traditional best practices can no longer be relied on to gauge the future and overcome their competition.
Five changes in the global economy have created what Henman refers to as paradoxical organizations:
- Workforce changes. Employees no longer stay with singular organizations throughout their entire careers, and companies no longer want the same skill sets indefinitely. Organizations must leverage specialist talent, which in the future will be handled less by HR departments and more by senior executives.
- New rules of the road. Big data will increasingly be a significant and disruptive factor in innovation, productivity, value creation, and expansion. Leaders will need to create advantages by successfully managing new environments that are characterized by speed and uncertainty.
- Global tilt. Emerging economies are changing global competitive dynamics. A lack of global governance rules means that leaders must adapt to trends beyond their own geographies, including the role that foreign governments play and how changing global demographics determine markets and resources.
- Fear. Since 2008, fear fed by sensational media reporting has become a great force, affecting both markets and the decisions of businesses and governments. Social media platforms spread innovative ideas as well as fear, instability, and violence.
- Change. Innovation itself is less important than the ability to temper innovation with discipline. Speed and agility are crucial, but it is even more crucial to know when to proceed with haste and when to be cautious.
Exceptional organizations that acknowledge these changes in turn display four traits:
- Strategy. Leaders anticipate numerous possible futures and invent strategies to respond to different scenarios and requirements.
- Culture. Organizations create cultures independent of talent. They hold on to the elements that make current stars want to join them while simultaneously adapting to change to attract future talent.
- Excellence. Organizations commit to excellence by realizing that they are only as good as their least-excellent performers who occupy key positions. Every employee should represent a high standard of performance.
- Talent. Mere retention is no longer a goal. Leaders must learn to quickly and accurately size up talent, recognizing three essential traits in top performers: integrity, intelligence, and drive.