In my experience as a member of middle management, a consultant or indeed as a board member of various organisations, it became obvious that the quality of the leadership involved was a vital component of the strategic planning process and its implementation. I have seen business units that were floundering under one manager suddenly become strong, vibrant and meaningful under a new leader.
To comprehend and cope with our environment we develop mental patterns or concepts of meaning…..(sic) to sketch out how we destroy and create these patterns to permit us to both shape and be shaped by a changing environment (Boyd 1976)
So why are so few of our leaders, at all levels within an organisation, capable of acting this way? Despite thousands of years of strategic thinking and development, the art or discipline of strategic thinking continually gets caught in a form of paralysis. There is no doubt that this is because of the lack of innovative thought among leadership, particularly in middle management.
This failure of management cannot be diagnosed simply as the ‘Peter Principle’ or the idea that individuals may be promoted to their point of incompetence. In many cases, the very people who, excelled at the finest educational institutions, are more often than not, poor leaders with little strategic or tactical innovation. Can you offer a reason why? Social enterprises often have leadership and management issues. The use of training or mentorship programmes tends to be underused and the fragmented nature of the sector doesn’t help.