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Leadership Agility and Flexibility Published: Sunday, October 28, 2007 By: Dr. Manuel Ángel Morales

Creativity, innovation, breakthrough strategies, transformational change and the flexibility to feel the promise in perilous times are very important dimensions of working realities and they should capture the imagination of execution leaders.  Vital as they are in their capacity to occasionally catapult a company to very visible success, sustained organizational progress is also built on disciplined and relentless execution of specific projects, tasks and activities.  As the wiseman James D. Thompson alert exactly forty years ago (Organizations in Actions), organizations and its leaders must execute or else they will be in trouble…  Leaders should exhibit execution behaviors and they should instill them in their people.  Some examples of execution behaviors are: 1) Visualize your performance intentions; 2) Confront obstacles, problems or difficulties; 3) Confront ambivalence and emotions and establish your capacity to stand with your head and heart before your responsibilities; 4) Develop and environment or a culture of decision making; 5) Build a self-regulating system; 6) Create a psychology of always raising the bar.

Execution is elicited on a foundation of energy and focus.  Energy is vigor fueled by strong personal commitment and involvement.  Either you are hot or cold, but there is no room for a half-way performance.

Executive energy is what gets things done.  As in competitive sports, energy is the emotional tenacity, the stamina that can release immense inner resources when the stakes are high.  The word emotion comes from the Latin word emovere, meaning move.  Emotions are specific, intense, and related to a particular object.  It refers to enthusiasm for something or fun in a certain situation.  Emotions, motivation and power relate all to movement, to execution.  In business, executive energy allows quick and effective execution in high pressure situations.  Result-oriented energy requires: 1) Execution that is meaningful; 2) Proactive action and initiative; 3) Exceptional efforts when tackling heavy workloads, calendars and responding to high deadlines.

The other critical component of execution is focus, which is essentially knowledge and energy channeled toward a specific outcome.  It points to the capacity of a leader, a manager or a professional to concentrate even within a context of many distractions that flare up everyday.  Focus leaders are goal-oriented, very purposeful, intentional, channeling all activities toward achieving such desired purpose.

Sustained and consistent execution requires people to deeply and personally commit to specific initiatives and undertake focus and energetic action to achieve results.  The job of the executive is leader to develop a special kind of commitment from the people that will keep the organization energized and continuously improving and changing.

The other day, at the extraordinary Executive Leadership Forum, held by the Manufacturing Association someone ask about the leaders critical or defining moments, and we quickly responded that those were junctures where leaders:  1) Discovered their deepest, inner most feeling about their goals; 2) achieved a new clarify of thought regarding their goals and becoming more confident of achieving their objectives; 3) aligned their emotions, thoughts and actions for achieving their goals.

Leaders quickly learn that they are transformed by the way they read think, learn, feel, design and do things that have a profound meaning and make a significant contribution.  Executive leadership is about feeding your internal hunger for working for the society and developing yourself; acknowledging that execution is also about spiritual discipline; achieving results, success and working with a sense of calling, legacy, vocation and destiny.

At the end leadership is about achieving the very complex and challenging outcome of being called and defined as a great human being.  And this feeling arises when you are reconciled to the fact of what you are, that is a creature of God.


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