|Home - Industry Article - Jul 02 Issue
On Leadership at BEA Systems
By Alan Fudge, SVP, Americas, BEA
This is the first in a series of notes that I will be sharing with you on the subject of Direct Leadership. These brief notes are designed to set the stage for you to think about this subject and to hopefully further your abilities to lead your teams in the successful execution of our sales mission.
In our positions, it is important that we are dedicated students on the subject of leadership and continuously working to develop and perfect our leadership abilities. Leadership is not something that we inherit or are given at birth. Leadership is a set of skills that can be taught, observed, learned, and perfected by practice. Good Leadership is understandable. As a result, you will find that my series of Leadership notes will cover four main categories – its definition and context, its principles, its characteristics and its requirements.
You may be asking why I have selected this subject to communicate with you. It is because Leadership matters. It matters greatly…its “payoff” is team excellence that translates into overall success in achieving our sales mission. It is about dealing with people and getting the very best from them. It is about influencing people to produce results and go places that they couldn’t or wouldn’t go alone.
Organizations may perform well with less than perfect strategies, but not with poor Leadership. Leaders do make a difference. To make that difference we must invest time and effort in learning to be the best leaders that we can. So, I write to you to not only broaden your understanding of Leadership, but also to make sure that we link it to our #1 objective, which is performance. So, I write to you to not only broaden your understanding of Leadership, but also to make sure that we link it to our #1 objective, which is performance and improving the productivity and morale of our people.
In this first note, I want to talk about the definition and context of Leadership. The definition that I prefer is…Leadership is the art of influencing others, by setting the example in words and actions, to accomplish the mission, while continuing to direct improvements within the organization.
Before we examine this definition, let me clearly point out that Leadership starts with the character of the leader. In order to lead others, we must have the proper set of values that allows us to do what is right all of the time. As leaders we must be clear about what values we expect, as well as, how these values link to performance. The values that I am referring to are; Integrity, Respect, Passion, Loyalty, and Selflessness. These values are non-negotiable and apply to everyone in our sales management ranks.
Organizational titles are granted, but it is our character that wins respect and trust. Our people closely scrutinize our behavior as their leaders. Without respect and trust, our people will not follow us. The point again is that the essence of Leadership is still character. It begins here, it ends here, and there is no substitute for it.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the elements of our Leadership definition. The first part of the definition talks about influencing others, which means quite simply getting people to willingly do what you want and need them to do. This is not achieved by telling or ordering people what to do, but is done by setting the example. Through the actions that we take and the words that we speak we communicate to our people the reasons that certain things must be done. Additionally, we provide a sense of direction and the tools to get the job done and then, the freedom for them to execute and complete their jobs. Properly setting the example also provides our people with the motivation to want to do well in their job. Put another way…. Leaders go first, they set the example and build commitment.
The second part of the Leadership definition deals with accomplishing our sales mission and improving our organization. The Leadership actions taken to influence our people are intended to direct and motivate them to achieve our sales mission. Our mission is clearly and best stated as “delivering and exceeding on our sales revenue commitments to BEA.” This is our challenge and #1 responsibility in sales. Good Leadership helps us meet this challenge.
Our jobs as leaders are not finished when we achieve that mission. We must also be focused on improving our organization, its execution, our sales techniques, and our people. In fact, we need to be always looking at better ways of doing things in support of our sales mission. Our people expect us to create better organizations and ways of working, and to provide solid coaching and mentoring to improve their performance and level of excellence. That means that we need to check on what is going on and make corrections, as necessary. Taking the time to help our people learn from their mistakes and grow their abilities is a part of our responsibilities as leaders.
Raising the bar on our performance or “Moving to the Next Level of Excellence” as I stated in our kickoff session requires each of us to practice good Leadership. The kind of Leadership that causes our people to willingly follow us, believe in us and want to emulate us. Good Leadership begins with character and an understanding of the human dimension. But knowing about it is not enough. We have to practice it everyday. We have to apply it to all aspects of our work, as leaders and role models. Leadership doesn’t begin until we act…and act properly in word and deed.
As leaders, let’s make sure that we are living up to our responsibilities on a daily basis in both the execution of our sales mission and the way we get results through our people.
Alan Fudge is the Senior Vice President of the Americas at BEA Systems Inc.