1st Executive Blog

04 May Authentic Leader Attributes #1 - RESULTS

Life and business go on. Right? Over the last 6 weeks in Australia we have seen many businesses contemplate and then enact their survival plans. Some of this involved substantial cost savings including: redundancies, standing workers down or even pausing operations while other approaches focused on the extent to which government stimuli could help to sustain a business.

In recent weeks, we have noticed businesses accepting the new reality and preparing to pivot or adapt.

When Mindshop published their 2019 business leader report, "The Authentic Leader" in in late 2019, the Number 1 Authentic Leader Attribute was Results!


Just a week ago, we suggested that the most pertinent question for today was “What are results?” For some, this will be surviving until the end of lockdown, others already knew that they were in essential services and for them it is business as usual. Others either accidentally found themselves in essential services or even managed to pivot into it and are seeing unanticipated growth.

When the study identified “Results” as Authentic Leader Attribute #1, it identified that one of the critical issues for leadership in 2020 was mastery and improvement of fundamentals. That was great foresight. Here’s why….

  • To deliver any kind of financial outcome, leaders will need to have mastery of what drives the entire profit and loss statement and balance sheet. It’s not complicated. It means appreciating what revenue you can lock in, not spending for what you hope you will win, being totally diligent about the expense base for the P&L and hot on collections for the balance sheet.
  • Diversity, Inclusion and talent retention were also mentioned. They present particular challenges for organisations that now have to determine which roles to keep regardless, which roles to retain with the life support of an incentive like Job Keeper, and which roles to let go. Focus here has been delivered by the crisis. However, it is still a basic strategic imperative. Energise the roles that create value, understand the roles that protect value, then work out what support roles you really need. If a role has drifted into providing variable performance and having little influence on value then it should be removed - that has always been the case. The diversity and inclusion comes now without bias, without consideration of seniority and entirely focused on strategy at whatever level those jobs exist. If you need proof, just look at the recent hiring patterns of the major supermarkets.
  • Efficiency Gains may have been pushed into special project areas in the recent past. They now sit front and centre when it comes to creating the opportunity to pivot and adapt. Identifying waste, streamlining workflows, and focusing on meaningful work have just become the most important attributes of the authentic leader.
  • Innovation has been forced on many leaders in a very short period of time. The challenge for the authentic leader is to establish which of the reactive innovations applied recently can be adapted into a more effective business model on the other side of the crisis.

Underlying all of these results areas will be the capacity of the authentic leader to vision the future like never before and then develop strategy accordingly.

Please do look at our free support page for opportunities to accelerate authenticity in leadership at this time.

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