The “5 P’s of Leadership Success” have been established as the culmination of my personal analysis and management experiences in combination with research of a number of published texts regarding business culture, management styles and corporate success. Although developed in the senior living / healthcare industry, these winning Principles can be applied to most businesses.
Career Reflections: Over the course of my career, I have made significant contributions to the success of a variety of different organizations in various stages of their development while fulfilling multiple and diverse roles. New start-ups, emerging enterprises, mid-size companies, and complex industry leaders have all benefited from my skills in developing business strategy, fostering growth and leading turnarounds. I’ve achieved major successes with executive level responsibilities in operational leadership, financial management, sales & marketing coordination, and corporate administration & support. I’ve worked closely with entrepreneurs, professional business managers and Boards of Directors of both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. These positions close to the action have enabled me to analyze and observe what works and what needs improvement.
Star Symbol: There are several reasons why I include a star in my branding initiatives. First, a “star” is generally recognized by our society as someone who has achieved success in their specialty. In my Progressive operational Philosophy, each customer (resident in a senior living community) is provided star treatment as part of the customer/resident centric culture. Employees are recognized for their superior contributions with the Presentation of “Shining Star” awards.
I’ve found “five” to be a significant number with the 5 points of the star representing the major Points of a particular Program or Philosophy. That we were given 5 fingers on each hand and 5 toes on each foot goes beyond mere coincidence. Five concepts are the limit of what most of us can remember and focus on at any given time. In addition, successful leaders need 5 key people who believe in their concepts and Principles and can be trusted implicitly to support initiatives, implement changes and consistently Perform.
Finally, the star’s radiance showcases the underlying values and qualitative objectives of a given concept such as my Progressive Retirement Lifestyles program.
PEOPLE. A successful leader must surround her/himself with exceptional people. Although certain basic and technical skills are needed, these individuals don’t all need to be Superman! More important is a true Passion for what they are doing that leads to Pride in their work. We all “get down” at times, but it’s very helpful if your 5 key people have a generally Positive attitude and outlook on life. This helps give them the Perseverance to maintain focus on the company’s objectives as they face challenges and engage in Problem-solving.
PROCESS. Why do some highly skilled groups of people fall far short of expectations while others over-achieve? Systematic leadership creates the road to success through an organized approach to management that insures that good people make consistently good decisions. Careful Planning and structuring is required to reach the best balance of empowering managers to make all the decisions they can, while providing adequate controls to prevent them from making a poor choice in a critical and irreversible situation. Principles, Protocols, Policies and Procedures with adequate employee Preparation and training establish consistency and Predictability that are critical to building a brand that meets customer expectations.
PRODUCT. This should lead to an identifiable Product that can be marketed and sold at a specified price. It is important that customers, as well as your own employees, understand exactly what you Promise to Provide to them → be it a specific service(s) or a tangible widget. There is a growing trend in today’s high-tech world to shift this responsibility to the customer, saying “Tell me what you need and want and we’ll find a way to get it for you.” Although this is often touted as a customer-centric approach, I’ve found more success by defining the basic and optional Programs and services. The potential customer understands what is offered and finds it easier to evaluate differing options and make an informed buying decision. For senior living, I brand my unique package of superior resident services as the Progressive Retirement Lifestyles program, providing clear differentiation from competitors.
PERSONALITY. Every senior living community develops a unique Personality that drives its brand Perception and sales effort. Prospective residents perceive the building’s atmosphere, staff behavior and the character and attitudes of in-house managers and sales people. Successful leaders balance this local influence with a consistent corporate branding message. Unique building designs and standardized operating Practices with controlled marketing Promotions, advertising and Publicity[i] accomplish this.
PERFORMANCE. Every entity, whether designated as for-profit or not-for-profit, must generate revenues that exceed its operating costs. But, sustained success requires consistent achievement of multiple quantitative and qualitative metrics beyond just “making a Profit”. These may be external, industry specific comparisons (e.g. “on-time” Performance for airlines) or internal goals such as the Pursuit of Perfection in quality standards. Finally, performance has to be measured against the Promises made to customers: Did the company deliver everything it promised in its marketing?
Success is a complex process comprised of multiple factors, as indicated by the various capitalized “P” words in this introduction. A leader must balance each of the 5 major categories to achieve long term success.
I welcome your comments and suggestions and encourage you to share your own leadership experience in utilizing these principles.
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[i] For a detailed discussion, read “McDonald’s – Behind the Arches” by John F. Love to learn how McDonald’s accomplished this for the fast-food industry, Bantam Books, 1986.