by Michael Heng
The Blue Leader is blended and derived from the research and writings on strategy, leadership, social responsibility, people management and business excellence. Blue Leadership is best suited for this era of uncertainty and permanent turbulent change. Blue Leadership is inclusive and non-elitist. Everyone is and can be a leader.
Passions are feelings of love. Love is a combination of powerful emotions embodying boundless energy that creates and drives creativity and accelerates motivation often to and beyond the point of human endurance. Passion is the life essence of leadership. Leadership is essentially a particular passion to build better, lasting organisations through mobilizing and developing people followers to their best potential as validated by increasing levels of excellence in individual, group and community performance.
Love ignites like fire. The ecstatic love inherent in Blue Leaders energises and motivates others through the compelling influence of their visions of future possibilities. Blue Leaders imagine and visualize what their organisations can be. The passions in the pursuit of purposeful organizational goal or destination(s) provide the life energy driving their vision(s) as they lead and engage their people followers in navigating through respective terrains of opportunity. The passions of Blue leaders thus provide the basis for understanding the nature and purpose of the organizational goal, which is also the linchpin of effective Blue Strategy.
Blue Leadership is nurtured and cultivated by perfecting the skills necessary to materialize its essential 4 passions through conscious, deliberate and continuous experiential learning towards the attainment of self-mastery. Blue Leaders are not genetically born since everyone is already a leader of sorts at birth. The leadership journey of Blue Leaders is one of learning rather than training and education. The essential skills of Blue Leadership is learnt rather than taught.
The 4 Passions of Blue Leaders are Strategy, Service, People and Performance. They are characterized by the values and orientations commonly associated respectively with each passion, as visualized in the following:
The Passion for Strategy
The basic purpose of strategy is to empower an organisation to create its own future, instead of just letting it happen. It is the responsibility of Blue Leaders to create, develop and maintain a motivational climate conducive to superior work performance and enhanced organisational effectiveness aligned to visionary purpose.
The core personal mission of Blue Leaders is to deal with strategy amidst change and to build adaptive change-responsive organisations. The turbulent dynamics in their respective terrains of opportunity defines the urgency of their flexible adaptiveness, the goal(s) of their organisations and the imperative for new sets of skills and attitudes for the impactful execution of strategy. The Blue Leader is constantly preoccupied with strategic reflections and analytics among his prime activities of experiential reality learning.
Successful companies led by Blue Leaders know how to keep moving and always stay ahead of other actors who are often self-anointed competitors. Like in any competition, advantages are also usually brief, dynamic and constantly re-calibrating. Enduring sustainable advantages become the key to creating long-term exceptional returns on investments in capital, people, markets and technology.
Leadership is not the manipulation of material objects, services and people. Exceptional leadership has never been merely the co-ordination of resources. In the execution of Blue Strategy, Blue Leaders provide exceptional leadership and compelling vision, foster team development, encourage innovations from competing ideas as well as generate a unique motivating sense of direction in purposeful action. Effective learning harvests the needs from the challenges and prospects of their terrain of opportunity in the operating environment to distill and define the specific competencies demanded of people, partners and stakeholders for excellent holistic performance.
The Strategic Passion of Blue Leaders is described by keywords such as time, strategy, imagination, history, entrepreneurship, innovation, learning, planning, constant change, and empathy.
The Passion for Service
Blue Leaders recognize that they use resources belonging to society and other people such as funds, people, technologies, land, facilities and services. They believe that organisations and business should therefore serve society and others in return for the use of its resources, albeit having paid for them to some extent. Blue Leaders are committed to serve society and its communities by appreciating its diversity, respecting the rights and needs of others, especially the vulnerable, powerless and disadvantaged, and act in a manner which does not harm the environment.
The Blue Leader is a corporate citizen, first and always. Blue Leaders eagerly reach out to embrace the privileged responsibility of a sustainable and wholesome global society by innovating products and services, supporting programs and efforts, to improve the quality of life and create opportunities for happiness for the largest number in the world. To them, these are not regarded as charitable or philanthropic or tax-deductible activities. Rather, they are the natural considerations in their exercise of Blue Leadership.
As an example; a Blue Leader responded to the inconvenient truth of impending global climatic implosion by creating his business organization from the vision of a brave new world with an abundant energy future where one and all would have access to the clean and limitless natural powers around us. His “Blue” Company supports unique value innovations to harness renewable natural energy, and deploy developing technologies to develop clean, cost-effective alternative energy methods. The Blue Leader embraces a natural partnership with the environment to bridge the nexus between sustainability and profitability to make them his twin business goals.
Decades earlier, another Blue Leader also created a socially responsible company, a global brand today, to function in accordance with his unique philosophy based on the Principles of Contribution to Society; Fairness and Honesty; Co-operation and Team Spirit; Untiring Efforts for Improvement; Courtesy and Humility; Adaptability; and Gratitude.
The Service Passion in Blue Leaders conceives leadership as service to others beyond themselves. Their Service Passion creates in them the natural desire and conscious aspiration to lead. The Service Passion also explains their readiness and willingness to engage and communicate with their stakeholders - employees, vendors, partners as well as customers and society – with respect, anticipation, consideration, courtesy, tact and empathy.
The Service Passion of Blue Leaders is marked by keywords such as stewardship, responsibility, sharing, abundance mindset, voluntarism, globalism, consideration and servanthood.
The Passion for People
Blue Leaders regard their employees to be the strategic capital resource which they truly are. Staffs are core corporate assets and expenditures on human capital development are investments in the conventional sense. They have also concluded that conventional accounting systems have wrongly treated people essentially as a cost and expense item on their financial balance sheet, and therefore the only logical leadership choices are to constantly reduce and eliminate the human share of the commercial profit pie reserved exclusively for investors and shareholders. Over decades, such thinking and orientations have damaged the trust relations between the leader and the led. Blue Leadership restores and re-calibrates these trusts into awesome relationships.
The People Passion of Blue Leaders understands that work experiences and management controls are important socialising influences. It is from their subjective orientation within the organisation that they perceive an understanding of their "worth" or value to the organisation.
The Way or Tao of Blue Leadership eliminates the specific organisational practices that interfere with the conscious efforts of its members to focus work so as to derive a greater sense of mission accomplishment. The resultant climate of partnership instils a collective commitment to excellence and encourages their people to develop self-discipline and self-mastery for the achievement of mission purpose to reach the ultimate destination of corporate vision.
People are the ultimate high technology. They are the main actors in strategy, creating the future of the company instead of just letting it happen. The fusion of People and Strategic Passions are blended by Blue Leaders as they navigate the trends of globalisation, glocal competition and constantly shifting economic, social and market psychometric and psychographic conditions in their terrains of opportunity. To Blue Leaders, people as human capital appear to be the only asset capable of producing the definitive and enduring sustainable edge to assure continuous survival.
The People Passion of Blue Leaders fosters and nurtures an organizational culture that materialises the beliefs, values, norms and behaviors of Blue Leadership. The Way or Tao of Blue Leadership provides the core character of “Blue” organisational culture. The cohesiveness of organisational culture is the extent to which its members have internalised the beliefs, attitudes and values of Blue Leaders within the organisation, as manifested in individual and collective behaviors. It is thus important to understand that culture is what the organisation "is", and not something that the organisation "has".
Organisations led by Blue Leaders behave and act as a consequence of how they interpret the world according to their Strategic, Service and other Passions. Sociologically, it is their enactment and interpretation process that constitutes the essential dynamics of organisational culture as the Blue Passions, together, transmit and diffuse throughout the organization.
Organisation culture is not a static ‘thing’ but that which everyone is constantly creating, affirming and expressing. As they perfect their skills in The Way or Tao of Blue Leadership, employees mutually socialize one another into alignment with the Passions and their Orientations. Blue Leaders transform their organizational culture through this “culture making” or “sense making” process to build particularly profound meaning by using their passions and orientations to provide a consistent sense-making worldview to empower conscious reality-learning in their followers through “knowing what I think when I see what I say”.
The People Passion of Blue Leaders is marked by keywords such as diversity, respect, stakeholders, family, operations, trust, empowerment, teamwork, partnership and decent work.
The Passion for Performance
Business performance excellence involves a system of corporate values, planning capabilities and organisational responsibilities that drive strategic thinking and actions with operational decision-making at all levels and across functional lines of authority in the company. The totality nature of an organisational strategic response to the dynamic business environment of the terrain of opportunity assures an enduring sustainable edge.
The Way or Tao of Blue Leadership is the action frame of a complete, patterned reaction or response to the management of business excellence as well as the socio-psychological stress, dissonance and disequilibria engendered in an era of uncertainty and permanent turbulent change revealed by the emergent realities constructed by Blue Leaders.
Organisational performance under new social realities thus involves the successful management of change by projecting visionary Blue Leadership and instills confidence and a sense of direction out of the chaos created to bring about a new social order and equilibrium within the organisation. The Passion for Performance directs the thrust of change efforts to evolve a corporate performance culture where there is a prevalent sense of continuous learning and improvements, and where permanent change has become a way of life.
Blue Leaders nurture the performance culture with their Passion for Performance to personify the organisation. Eventually, the high performance culture birthed by Blue Leaders “becomes” the organisation, rather than what it "has". The high performance culture led by Blue Leadership provides the solutions to motivation and control by specifying broad, tacitly understood rules - "the way we do things around here" - for appropriate action under unspecified contingencies. The historically constructed culture of The Way or Tao of Blue Leadership is an adequately sufficient vehicle for reasoning, perception, feeling and understanding in the midst of permanent and turbulent change, notwithstanding the reality of multiple perspectives within an organisation.
The Way of Blue Leadership is constituted by a metrical 9-Action Pathway. When fully installed and implemented, they become the basic Blue culture building blocks of a living Blue Organisation sustained by Blue Leadership at all levels to provide the sustainable existential survival of lasting organisations. A snapshot of the 9-Action Pathways to materialise the Passions of Blue Leaders looks like this:
The Performance Passion of Blue Leaders is marked by keywords such as business, markets, competitors, technology, analytics, financials, ethics, justice, morality, profits
Next – The Way (Tao) of Blue Leadership
Earlier: In Search of Blue Leaders
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