The Real Legacy of Leadership:
Aligning Rhetoric with Reality
Albert A. Vicere
Whether you lead a global organization or a small team, success depends on instilling in your followers a clear, shared image of the purpose and aspirations of the organization. In times of change and uncertainty, people look to their leaders for inspiration and confidence. Skilled leaders reflect a sense of purpose and perseverance; those less skilled reflect a sense of confusion and desperation.
This chapter explores the boundaries between inspiration and desperation, between organizational effectiveness and ineffectiveness, between skilled and less skilled leadership. The focus of our exploration is on the critical need for leaders to ensure that their rhetoric and that of their organization match the reality of the organization's operating environment and culture—that is, that the organization actually is what its strategy and mission statements say it aspires to be. Our discussion will show that when leaders achieve that objective and align purpose and aspirations with focus and activity, they create the foundation for a high-performance organization.
Mission and strategy statements may define an organization's direction and aspirations, but the reality of economic and competitive environments can easily shift a company's focus from lofty goals to short-term survival.
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Publication information: Book title: The AMA Handbook of Leadership. Contributors: Marshall Goldsmith - Author, John Baldoni - Author, Sarah McArthur - Author. Publisher: American Management Association. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2010. Page number: 133.
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