What kind of a leader are you?27 Feb 2013
There are a lot of leaders in the National Business Awards, and they all define leadership in different ways, writes Alex Evans, Programme Director of the National Business Awards.
In the awards recognising individuals, such as Entrepreneur of the Year and Orange Leader of the Year, we’re looking for inspirational people that demonstrate the difference between leadership and management.
Following the huge increase in the number of new enterprises that have grown out of recession, Britain is becoming a nation of entrepreneurs – and it’s important that they are inspired by the right kind of leader if they are to succeed and drive economic growth. Seeking to define the qualities of successful entrepreneurship through its finalists and overall winner, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award celebrates the impact of the individual and what can be achieved with drive, ambition, vision, tenacity, inventiveness and confidence.
But it has to be more than merely spotting an opportunity and risking all to act on it. Paul Lindley, CEO of Ella’s Kitchen, won Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011 because his unifying vision is long term, his global ambition for the brand is achievable, and the values he has embedded into all parts of the business will help to sustain growth through future leaders.
Focusing on those leading large, established organisations, the Orange Leader of the Year award identifies five exemplary CEOs who have successfully led a strategy for outstanding performance, are recognised as transformational or game changing in their industry, and characterise a certain style of leadership.
What unites each of this year’s Orange Leader finalists is that they are not only leading change and improvement in their own organisations but in their wider industry and community. Conscious of their personal legacy, Newton’s Helena Morrissey set up the 30% Club to increase Board diversity in the FTSE 100; Wates’ Paul Drechsler is leading business in the community initiatives to address unemployment and poor education; Cisco’s Phil Smith is enabling challenger technology innovation around the country; Dame Barbara Stocking is changing Oxfam’s attitudes to private sector partnership; and Nestle’s Paul Grimwood has invested substantially to make the UK a world class centre of excellence for food manufacturing.
But what sets these individuals apart as leaders is authenticity. Truly committed to both their day job and the broader mission they have taken on, they have demonstrated an impressive impact on their organisations, their industries and the business community.
Another aspect of leadership highlighted by this year’s National Business Awards programme is diversity. It’s worth noting that both Helena Morrissey and Phil Smith have become champions of inclusion and diversity to address the biggest challenge facing business in the 21st century – the attraction, retention and development of talent.
The Leadership Diversity Award was designed to highlight the policies and processes enabling talent from all backgrounds to achieve executive positions and demonstrate the impact this is having on competitiveness and commercial performance. A common theme among the finalists of this inaugural award is the desire to bring a variety of perspectives to strategic decisions to ensure they are relevant and reflective of the real world.
While all organisations believe they are unique, they are more conscious of looking and sounding like their customers and the communities in which they operate. Some are further along the journey to transformation than others, and better at demonstrating the commercial impact of leadership diversity.
Leadership, one of seven key criteria used to assess every entrant of the National Business Awards, is not only defined as effective management and a successfully executed strategic vision but how future leaders are developed and enabled. More and more organisations are recognising and investing in their internal entrepreneurs - and our judging criteria is evolving to help organisations demonstrate this.
As business sustainability is increasingly translated as corporate longevity, it’s not just about today’s leaders but the leaders they have enabled and developed to deliver their legacy.