Volume 7 • Issue 4
WELCOME to our e-newsletter on global operations management!
The changes of the seasons brought changes for AIM Strategies® as well.
The format of this e-newsletter with most of this newsletter devoted to summarizing an interview in which I speak to the impact of our global operations management.
- Turbulent Times Call for Adapta-Leadership
- 1) The Importance of Adapta-Leadership
- 2) Organizations That Will Thrive
- 3) How AIM Strategies® Has Changed
- 4) The Role of Global Leadership in the 21st Century
- 5) Thoughts on the Future
- About AIM Strategies®
An Interview with AIM’s CEO, Yael S. Zofi
Turbulent times generate great insecurity across this increasingly connected global world. Gail Margulis, AIM Strategies® new Communications Manager, wanted to know Yael Zofi’s perspective on our current situation. “With twenty years in the organizational development (OD) field,” Margulis stated, “I was interested in how AIM’s CEO views the current business climate, and what characteristics of leadership she deems as essential for organizational success today.“
What follows are highlights from Ms. Zofi’s comments about the state of global operations management today. “Having researched the nature of global operations management for over a decade, I concluded that healthy leadership teams must master seven GlobaLeadershipTM dimensions: Vista-Leadership, Innova-Leadership, Adapta-Leadership, Diversa-Leadership, Communi-Leadership, Collabo-Leadership and Edu-Leadership. At various times in an organization’s life, it may be critical to focus on one or more, due to external and/or internal factors. I believe that Adapta-Leadership is extremely significant today.”
From the Organizational Development (OD) perspective, why has Adapta-Leadership taken on such importance?
“First, I’d like to clarify what I mean by Adapta-Leadership. It’s the ability to be in the moment and to critically assess a situation, weigh options and move in a certain direction as long as necessary. The Adapta-Leader works through non-linear and disruptive phases to arrive at the best actionable conclusions to achieve business results. These are the individuals who demonstrate an unprecedented flexibility while leading their organizations through great change.
What is going on now is so unprecedented that I’m not sure it’s possible to take a ’30,000 foot’ perspective. If anyone had any doubt about how interconnected the world’s financial markets are, they have only to look at the domino effect of our own Wall Street (and Main Street) troubles on so many continents. We’ve been told that trust and confidence are what drives financial transactions, and really, OD professionals know that these qualities are the basis of healthy organizations as well.
When things are tough, and they may get even worse before they are going to get better, strong leadership must step in to assess the situation and set the tone. In these circumstances leaders need to create a ‘command center’, consisting of top managers who can work quickly to react to unprecedented conditions; a flexible communication structure is also key, because panic sets in and takes hold. Clear, frequent communication is an antidote to the rising tide of fear. The more complex the environment, the more adaptable the leadership team needs to be. We also need to be mindful that although the challenges are unprecedented, taking care of these fundamentals provides opportunities to strengthen the organization.
The global age is here – with unparalleled intensity. Today, leaders face new streams of adaptive challenges. We have been in an expanding bubble, and the financial collapse shows us, in a most unfortunate way, that we can’t be local anymore. I’ve been saying this for over a decade now.
What is the role of the global leader in the 21st century? Based on my experience as a consultant working with global operations management, my thinking evolved to view the global leader (or GL as I refer to it) as the Agent of Connection, no longer the Agent of Change.
We can even view the world as an organization, whose structure resembles a system (an open system), with inputs and outputs. Today we take for granted that a dress can be manufactured in one part of the world and marketed elsewhere, because that’s where it makes sense to do it. The world is your landscape; it’s no longer New York…or the East Coast or the USA. This is true for small organizations as well as for large ones.
If you think about successful leaders, they are no longer Clint Eastwood types, riding alone into the sunset; they are dependent on working seamlessly with their leadership team, whose members together master the seven key dimensions of global leadership.”
What type of organizations do you think will thrive?
“The organizations that will thrive down the line will be the ones whose leaders use global operations management to dispassionately assess conditions and make sensible decisions to prepare for an unknowable future. I like to say these individuals will plan for the unplanned, see the unseen and increase their Adapta-Leadership behaviors: i.e.
• They will stay focused in the face of chaos.
• They will adapt at a moment’s notice and not let uncertainty paralyze them.
• They will be able to protect their own energy.”
When you first started AIM Strategies®, what was happening in the world of OD? What was your vision for AIM? Has that changed over the years?
“Back in 1998 the pre-Y2K economy was thriving; money was flowing and no one had an issue with budgets. From day one of our company’s existence, business was booming. The phone would ring off the hook – and we had no marketing to speak of, no website, just word of mouth to promote our programs. I was so busy that I could hardly keep up with my customers’ demands. The field of OD was all about incorporating change, especially technological change, into a company with the least disruption. The focus was how to connect technology and people – ‘Hi-tech- Hi touch’. Teams and team building were popular topics then, and my clients were serious about giving managers the tools and techniques to do their jobs effectively.
I started AIM because I believed that I could design and deliver quality programs related to leadership and team effectiveness. What’s changed in the past decade is a sense of urgency that many of my clients share to work better, smarter, faster NOW. A reflection, of course, of our hyper-competitive economic environment.
My vision for AIM is the one thing that has remained constant in a world of change. Our company is all about creating and delivering applied people management solutions to help leaders, managers and staff contribute to bottom-line results. Specific modules have evolved, but we are a firm that powers organizational excellence today, and we will continue to do so tomorrow as well.”
These days, it seems like everyone is talking about change management and leadership – what does ‘managing change’ really mean and what is the role of global leadership in the current market?
“I never liked the term Change Management. You cannot manage change because change is a reality – it will manage you. There will be change whether you like it or not; that’s what life is all about. We grow old, it’s a change, and there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s going to happen, and what matters is how you handle change, how you deal with it, how you maneuver through the change. Now, the role of Global Leadership is more about Connection then about Change.
Intense competition, globalization and the spread of technology have created the need for organizations to be highly adaptable, to respond to the environment at the speed of change (light), and those that cannot will face the grave risk of extinction and failure. Change is no longer incremental, it is ongoing and constant with global operations management.
In the 21st century environment we do not work in isolation, and a leader needs to be the Agent of Connection for global operations management, creating a capable – and diverse – team that in total comprises all seven leadership dimensions. Think of a president who creates a cabinet with many strengths, with individuals whose skills and experience complement each other. For example, Lincoln is said to have asked his enemies to join his cabinet, understanding that their strengths were necessary to help the country at a difficult time. In this global environment we know that challenges will keep coming, and only smart, adaptive leaders will find a way to triumph over them.”
What can we expect in the future??
“I can say it in a handful of words: Expect the unexpected because it is going to happen!”
AIM Strategies® Applied Innovative Management® is a results-driven Human Capital Consulting firm specializing in the areas of: Global Leadership Development, Co-located and Virtual Team Facilitation, Cross Cultural Communications, and Change Integration Services. To request information about AIM’s experiential learning methods (5D’s™ Consulting/Proprietary Training Methodology and ACT™ Coaching Process), please email email@example.com. In upcoming issues of this newsletter, we’ll update you on tips and techniques related to raising your innovative management IQ. We are confident that the solutions we develop fit your needs and culture. Please forward this newsletter to your colleagues and visit www.aim-strategies.com to learn more about how our services unlock the people potential of your organization!