After a couple of decades working in government, non-profits and the private sector, I came to believe that the under-developed capacity of talented leaders is the key variable holding many companies back from potential greatness. That's why coaching individuals is at the core of what I do even when working on tangible outcomes like stronger government partnerships, more productive stakeholder relationships, or new channels for growth of the organization. And although of course I routinely work with an entire team and across multiple departments, the focal point for me is always that leader. After all, the dictionary definition of leverage (Merriam-Webster) is "power, effectiveness" and that says it all.
The leaders I work with via Emblem Strategic are ambitious about self-actualization. They are like athletes who believe they have one more second in them or one more yard; and exposing themselves to new ideas, relationships, methods and metrics of success will unlock it. I think they are right.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos garnered lots of attention earlier this year to his belief that being decisive is the key to being successful. It is easy to say "just do the right thing" when we all know that the hard part is figuring out what the right thing to do is in the first place. The advantage of working with a coaching and consulting shop that has extensive general management and organizational leadership experience ( I do) is that you get extremely pragmatic empathy. I understand the view from your place in the organization. I know there is always something to balance with whatever appears at first glance to be the top priority. And I have a clear understanding of the personal strength required to handle the pressure. Order number one is to ensure that focus, resilience, stamina and courage are never in short supply.
When you sit down with me to talk about your business, the first thing I am focused on is the strongest point of leverage I have. That is invariably going to be making you more confident that you can deliver. You might need new relationships, a clearer understanding of a key issue, or a plan for tackling a new challenge. It could require helping to unlock or perhaps to focus your creativity. Whatever it is, we'll do the right amount of reflection and analysis but then we will get things done. Remember, my focus is on making you effective.
Andy Tarsy is Principal and Founder of Emblem Strategic, a public affairs and strategy consulting firm.