Category Archives: Eliakim Thorpe

6 C’s of a Visionary Organization

By Eliakim Thorpe

Eliakim ThorpePeter and Christine are co-owners who’ve now been in business for more than ten years. They have experienced tremendous growth but recently decided to schedule a meeting to discuss the current state of their organization and how they can remain relevant, competitive, and sustainable in an ever-changing economy.

What began as a meeting to discuss the past successes and current state of the organization turned quickly into a dialogue about an organization not simply driven by revenue margins but a company governed by an organizational vision which becomes the living and breathing force behind its every action.

Vision is the tension between what was, what is, and what will be. It reaffirms an organization’s reason for existence, identifies who it serves, and creates products and services to solve a societal or humanitarian problem. A visionary organization lives in two-worlds: one of purpose and one of profit. This type of organization celebrates it past, embraces its present, and is fueled by its future. It is an organization that is not shackled to the past or its traditions, but is willing to abandon organizational norms to reach its organizational destiny.

Peter and Christine concluded that sustainable, long-standing organizations have a well-developed vision that is ahead of its time, along with a powerful plan for change to remain competitive in a fluid and changing business climate.

Visionary organizations have a ‘roadmap to radical change’. Every successful visionary organization realizes that radical change cannot occur unless an enterprise has a roadmap to successfully reach its destination. To become a visionary organization, there are six elements to create a powerful blueprint for change.

Vision is the tension between what was, what is, and what will be. Click To TweetA powerful vision for change must be:

1. Clear: A powerful vision is clear—it creates a mental picture in the mind of your workforce of what it would be like to achieve it. A clearly articulated vision becomes the masterpiece the organization is the painter and the world its canvas. A clear vision uses direct, transparent, straightforward language and meaningful visuals to convey a sense of the desired future state that is easy for the staff to understand and internalize.

2. Compelling: It is important that every organization identifies and articulates a compelling story to ignite change. The story must be able to capture the heart, mind, and soul of its employees. It should create a sense of urgency based upon the changing marketplace and shifting societal winds; not urgency simply based on financial factors or fierce competition. This isn’t simply a matter of showing people poor sales statistics or talking about increased competition. It is a transparent view of a current undesirable state that paints a picture of what would happen if the organization doesn’t change. The story should connect to the soul of the company and its very reason for existence. It should be so compelling that it creates a type of constructive tension in the heart, mind, and soul of its employees to initiate a profound change for growth. The story becomes the catalyst for change. In its essence, a compelling story inspires the whole organization!

3. Concrete: A concrete vision is defined where an organization is skilled in giving form to a formless and shapeless future reality. A concrete vision awakens the five senses of every employee that produces a tangible and substantial reality that is achievable. It is analogous to being a potter actively shaping the clay, molding it, and transforming it into something tangible that the organization can understand. In the end, a concrete vision uses descriptive, present-tense language and visuals to convey a believable future and desired end state of the organization.

4. Communicated: A well-developed vision may begin in the mind of the organizational leader as an abstract idea but turns into a powerfully communicated vision throughout the company so that everyone understands and can articulate where they are going. To effectively communicate a vision requires an established communication infrastructure that has verbal, written, visual, behavioral, and system components that convey and manage the barriers and progress of the vision. Leadership must regularly communicate and reinforce the vision so that momentum is sustained while undergoing this radical organizational change. Visionary organizations don’t simply see the vision; they become the vision

5. Consented: Every vision articulated must have the ability to mobilize the workforce to accept the idea of the leader. Consensus is in summary taking the idea of the one and making it the idea of the many. It is the ability to use persuasive language to create a vision that is inclusive, open, honest, transparent, and mobilizes the workforce to accept the needed organizational changes to remain relevant in today’s business landscape. Consensus creates a shared responsibility, beginning with the leader, but embraced by all levels of the company. The most powerful visions happen when an entire group or organization is mobilized, unified, linked, and of one mind to ensure that the enterprise reaches its goals.

6. Committed: For a vision to become a reality, people throughout the organization must be willing to voluntarily invest their time, talent, and resources. Leadership must not only cast the vision, carry the vision, and support the vision, but the staff must catch the vision to propel the organization forward in a very profound way.

Whatever the business age of your enterprise, organizations must be more than economically sensitive to the changing business landscape. Companies must be consciously aware of the ripple effects that vision creates. When businesses begin the transformation process, they must honestly appraise their current and present state. Does the current state of the organization align with its future goals? Enterprises must understand the reasoning for why it’s necessary to undertake radical change that is more than prioritizing organizational structures, process, products, and profit, but must include and clearly state the imperative of people and communities as being at the center of any visionary activities.

Throughout history, the catalyst for change has always begun with individuals who foresaw the benefit of developing a visionary organization. The development of a visionary organization resulted in inspired employees, new product innovation, higher revenue margins, increased sales, profit increase, greater market competitiveness, stronger organizational culture, and strong organizational outcomes.

Eliakim Thorpe is a sought-after speaker, consultant, thought-leader and entrepreneur, author, and a leading authority on organizational transformation. He is the creator of the T.H.R.I.V.I.N.G. Organization: A New Philosophy to Transform Organizations, which is both a philosophy and a systematic process to help businesses create frameworks to become transformational—internally and externally. As an IT professional, Eliakim has worked with and consulted for Fortune 10 to Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, Whirlpool, and GM

7 Characteristics of a Highly Successful Business Leader

By Eliakim Thorpe

Eliakim ThorpeMatthew and Janice are entrepreneurs who’ve been in business for nearly two years. They recently decided to attend a leadership conference to help them remain competitive leaders/entrepreneurs in a global economy.

What began as a conversation about the occupational role of a leader turned quickly into an exchange over the most important traits of a leader, and how the most successful leaders are not simply measured by their knowledge, but more importantly, measured by their character.

Intelligence isn’t a replacement for high character.

Matthew and Janice concluded that successful organizations have leaders who are not only functionally proficient—but more importantly—are leaders who have developed necessary characteristics to empower employees and develop sustainable organizations.

When you embark on your leadership journey, it is critically important to acknowledge that success is not simply about an executive’s credentials, but their well-developed character to ensure continued organizational growth and long-term success. There are seven characteristics of a highly successful leader to consider on the F.O.R.T.U.N.E. leadership path.

Every leader must be:

Fearless: The great tragedy of any organization is a leader who is paralyzed by fear. Fear is being unfamiliar with the unknown or simply being unwilling to take risks. Often the greatest challenge of any organization is not the current market conditions, revenue projections, profit margins, or stock market volatility, but a leader’s own ability to confront self-imposed limitations rooted in fear.

If the leader of an organization is paralyzed by fear, it will ultimately hinder the competitiveness and sustainability of the company. In the life of every business leader there will be a single defining event that will require a decisive moment of fearlessness to propel the organization forward. It may be unpopular for the few that you lead, but necessary for the many to catapult the organization forward. It is in this moment that courage is formed within the heart and mind of the leader, which will position the organization to be on the cutting edge of its industry.

Original: Many leaders have been educated to embrace the norm and the similar (hold onto tightly held paradigms) which create a linear view on organizational growth and sustainability. A unique quality of highly successful business leaders is their ability to embrace uniqueness, distinctiveness, and their authentic leadership style. An executive must be mindful that while it is essential to learn from other successful leaders, no two leaders are alike.

An original leader defies labels and is keenly aware of their value to their organization; unwilling to lead simply for the approval of others but is fully committed to expressing their authentic leadership identity. It’s living outside the ordinary leadership constructs that propels the leader to achieve the extraordinary.

Resilient: Every business leader will experience peaks and valleys while managing an organization. It’s during these periods of personal and economic volatility that a resilient leader is required to properly lead the organization. In addition, a core competency of the executive must be able to identify sources of resistance, which demand the leader to captain the organization during this period of instability. Resistance is often seen as a negative force in the lifecycle of a leader and organization. However, if properly understood, is a positive force to be leveraged if guided by a resilient executive.

Trustworthy: A leader’s ‘hard’ skills are often valued over ‘soft’ skills. Successful leaders recognize the critical importance of trust as a necessary ‘soft’ skill. Trust is the ability to cultivate and demonstrate integrity, honesty, and transparency within an organization. A successful leader is fully aware that trust is the foundation of every good relationship and a key commodity to building solid connections within the company. Trust is not only constructed at the top of an organization but also built at the bottom, creating multi-directional relationships throughout the enterprise. When a leader fosters trust, the team and colleagues form a powerful bond that helps the employees communicate more effectively and produce more efficiently.

Uncompromising: The leadership life of an executive requires a delicate balance between rigidity and flexibility. Organizations should be agile and flexible as a matter of survival because companies today face an unprecedented level of change and volatility in the marketplace. While it may be tempting to take organizational shortcuts to traverse the market volatility, it’s during this turmoil that a leader must demonstrate a level of conviction to properly navigate the enterprise. Being an uncompromising leader is simply a conviction, which is a firmly held belief. A business leader must be willing to take a stand and act according to organizational values and guiding principles.

Noble: Nobility is defined as a quality of being honorable, excellent, and of high regard; having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals. A noble leader provides direction and purpose in any corporation. When there is a sense of nobility within a leader, he or she will determine the conduct of the organization. When it’s anchored within the heart, mind, and soul of a leader, it will become embedded into the cultural DNA of the organization. Selfless service to the customer becomes the priority over a self-centered approach to conducting business in today’s economy.

Ethical: The new leadership imperative now demands ethical leaders. In today’s climate, many leaders have succumbed to greed, been seduced by success and corrupted by power. True leaders can achieve greatness without compromising their character or code of conduct. Ethical business leaders live according to their own philosophy, which has been developed, sharpened, and perfected throughout leadership experiences. Before an executive can the lead the many, he or she must first learn to master themselves. If the business leader stands for nothing, the organization will fall for anything.

It has been stated that “Leading is a willful responsibility to sacrifice personal desires and comfort for the pleasure of those we lead and serve.” High character, moral conduct, and a strong culture result in a boost in profits, highly motivated employees, and strong organizational outcomes. Furthermore, these seven characteristics were the engine that created a sense of authentic purpose, which drove top performance, individually and organizationally.

Eliakim Thorpe is a speaker, consultant, thought-leader and entrepreneur, author, and a leading authority on organizational transformation. He is the creator of the T.H.R.I.V.I.N.G. Organization: A New Philosophy to Transform Organizations, which is both a philosophy and a systematic process to help businesses create frameworks to become transformational—internally and externally. As an IT professional, Eliakim has worked with and consulted for Fortune 10 to Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, Whirlpool, and GM. For more information about Eliakim, please visit www.eliakimthorpespeaks.com.

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Outcomes of Transformation: The 4 Keys to Reproducible Results

By Eliakim Thorpe

Eliakim ThorpeMatthew and Janice are emerging entrepreneurs who recently went into business together. During a lunch meeting at a local restaurant they began to discuss their future profit projections and how well their business is performing financially six-months after its opening. What began as a conversation about dollars and profit margins quickly turned into a debate over the Great Recession, and the benefits of transforming an organization primarily driven by profit, to an organization led by purpose-driven employees.

Matthew prefers to discuss profit strategy, profit projections, and profit margin regardless of the current economic conditions impacting revenue. He firmly believes that the organization can be financially resilient during economic turmoil if a profit strategy is developed. Janice believes in maximizing human capital; not necessarily every employee, but those who’ve demonstrated passion, dedication and an unwavering commitment because of their belief in the values of the organization. She is confident that if people change, the organization will change and weather any economic instability.

Rose, a well-respected manager, joined in and shared her perspective on the importance of organizational transformation that must be internally-driven by people, and not solely motivated by bottom lines. She believes that if human capital is not leveraged properly within an organization, transformation can never occur and the development of a profit/revenue strategy will be insufficient in an ever-changing global economy. Conversely, some of the most resilient organizations can encounter troubles because they fail to realize the importance of organizational transformation. The most successful brands implement organizational transformation designed to change people and not organizational structures.

Rose and Janice are correct. The engine to every economy is people. Without people there is no economy. Purpose-driven, passionate, talented, and dedicated employees make transformation successful. As an enterprise, you evaluate what is in your control and what you can influence. You can’t control market conditions, inflation, and the decline of the economy. But you can control the growth of people and the emphasis you place on having a transformed workforce during a prospering and declining economy.

When you embark on your leadership journey to foster a transformative work environment, it is critical that you can ensure consistency and long-term success. There are four keys to reproducible results for business leaders, entrepreneurs and executives to consider on the path to transformation.

1) Engaged Employees: During any transformational process, it is imperative that the organization understand that people power the transformation. Organizations must understand that the greatest commodity at their disposal is not products, profit or capital—but people. Every dimension of a transformational company is tightly connected to its people because they are the greatest asset of any business.

Your workforce must be your company’s cornerstone if it is to be successful, profitable and sustainable. Without people, there is no organization! When your workforce feels—and truly believes—that they have a direct stake in the future of the company, they become invaluable assets toward your transformative goals.

2) Organizational Culture: Every organization must learn to be intentional about the attitudes, behaviors, values and guiding principles it broadcasts. Whatever a leader broadcasts becomes its organizational culture. Organizational culture is built upon Convictions, Conduct and Character. If the manager or leader is unable to demonstrate these 3 C’s, it will create bad attitudes, unwanted behaviors, limited perspectives, and difficult working environment.

Developing this culture requires a committed and consistent articulation of its values that contribute to the social and psychological environment of any organization. A culture that includes expectations, experiences and a shared philosophy by all provides guidance on how an organization interacts with its employees and its customer (in a larger context, its community and society). In essence, organizational culture is simply the temperament of an enterprise led by its leader who is skilled with setting the temperature. The temperament of the leader will determine the culture of an organization. A strong organizational culture becomes the GPS when an organization loses it way!

3) Performance Increase: Every organization wants a greater ROI.  Greater output and increased productivity come at minimal cost when employees are engaged and there is a strong culture courses through your company. Many businesses define performance as the intellectual and physical energy of an employee which is designed to meet a specific job responsibility. It is leveraging the capabilities of its workforce to generate greater output. The better the alignment with vision and value, the more likely people will rise to greater output. The components of a productive and high-performing organization include decisive and quick thinking and decision-making, fast to-market strategy, and the ability to maintain momentum. Leaders must be skilled at energizing the workforce gifts and talents if greater productivity is desired. When employees are motivated, greater productivity is manifested!

4) New Product Innovation: Creativity and ingenuity must be at the forefront of product innovation. Employees want to create impact. The best way for that to occur is to allow them to be part of the innovation-based projects in your company by letting them get their hands dirty. Ideation is important, but being part of implementing the ideas that come to life can be a more exciting and meaningful growth opportunity for your employees that will inspire them to perform.

Additionally, provide your employees the resources to be innovative in their work. When given the right tools and resources, the best employees will instinctively challenge themselves to be more innovative—and will perform better. When an organization is immersed in a transformational culture—not just ideation—innovation occurs.

Organizations that are successful in their transformational endeavors are people-centered, purpose-driven, solution-focused, service-oriented, profit-savvy, and innovatively positioned to create lasting change. The challenge in business leadership or entrepreneurism nowadays is the ability to be resolute and steadfast in an economic climate that appears to promote profit above partnership with consumers to create lasting change in and around the community. Organizations are more likely to face adverse economic conditions if they are primarily driven by profit. Investment in people must be at the center of any transformational organization.

Close observation of successful organizations during adversity found that those who believed in transformational leadership styles and a workforce with a transformative and evolved culture resulted in a boost in profits, highly-motivated employees and stronger organizational outcomes.

Eliakim Thorpe is a highly sought-after speaker, consultant, thought-leader and entrepreneur, author, and a leading authority on organizational transformation. He is the creator of the T.H.R.I.V.I.N.G. Organization: A New Philosophy to Transform Organizations, which is both a philosophy and a systematic process to help businesses create frameworks to become transformational—internally and externally. As an IT professional, Eliakim has worked with and consulted for Fortune 10 to Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, Whirlpool and GM. For more information about Eliakim, please visit www.eliakimthorpespeaks.com.