Why is Leadership So Simply Complicated?

by Phil Brandt
AAIM Employers’ Association

I have had the privilege of leading many high-performing organizations in my career, and I consider myself fortunate to have worked with—and for—some of the world’s very best leaders. Most recently, I am in the unique and extremely rewarding position to lead an association that serves a diverse group of 1,600 employers. I see their challenges. I know their pain. Conversely, I am witness to their amazing accomplishments! And I am truly grateful they continually share their lessons learned and best practices with us.

However, there seems to be one common issue that affects all organizations to some degree. Most leaders are exceptional with business processes, but some struggle with people processes. In the People-Process-Product equation, they often struggle most with the people side of the equation. They find it especially arduous blending the three dynamics together to achieve the desired business results.

As leaders, we are expected to lead people to achieve measurable goals. We are expected to help grow the business—and the brand—to sustain long-term growth. Today, if you did a search on Amazon for “leadership,” you would find thousands of books on the subject. And there have been countless books published on talent management methodologies in the last 20 years. But the reality is that it all boils down to a simple model of hiring, developing and retaining the right people, with the right attitude and aptitude. It is your people processes that have the most impact on your business process and end product. So, hire the right people!

However, all employers are currently experiencing difficulty finding qualified workers, especially top talent. This situation will continue into the foreseeable future as the U.S. unemployment rate is near an eight-year low and the economy remains modestly strong. Factor in a reduced labor pool (by number of births), the record level of “baby boomer” retirements and the high school drop-out rate, and the war on talent becomes even more critical for organizations looking for a steady supply of human capital to fuel their growth.

In today’s marketplace, if an employer has a strong brand identity and a reputation for having a dynamic culture, it is much easier for you to attract, hire and retain top talent. Leaders can engineer and influence culture, but your employees live the brand and culture. The key lies in how leaders leverage their people process to positively affect their business process, and ultimately, the end product.

It’s about leadership!

Therefore, I am proud to announce the AAIM Peoria Leadership Conference to be held November 2nd at the Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino. This full-day conference is designed for business owners, business leaders and human resource professionals, and will focus solely on leadership development. I am also excited to announce two keynote speakers: Captain Ron Johnson, Missouri Highway Patrol, and Jack Lannom, CEO of People First International.

Appointed "Commander of Ferguson Operations" by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon in August 2014, Captain Johnson was instrumental in bringing the community together during one of the most critical moments in our nation's history. His leadership throughout the crisis inspired many, and he was subsequently named one of CNN's "Extraordinary People" in 2014.

Jack Lannom is an author, consultant and international speaker who has worked with a number of Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, UPS, Iron Mountain, Kimberly-Clark, Ritz-Carlton, PepsiCo and Chick-fil-A. His “People First” strategic leadership system creates outrageously engaged, high-performance cultures that increase profits and leverages the potential of people.

Breakout session speakers include representatives from Caterpillar, UnityPoint Health, Bradley University, World Wide Technology, Inc., Blue Line Technology, and MGM Training & Marketing, with more to be announced soon. The keynotes, networking experience and the ability to learn best practices from eight breakout session experts makes this one of the year’s “must-attend” events. Will you join us? iBi

To learn more about the leadership conference, visit www.aaimea.org/AAIM-Leadership-Conference.aspx.

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