Scotland's Economy

Olympian leadership

September 10, 2012 by No Comments | Category Business

There’s no doubt the London 2012 Olympics were the highlight of the summer for many. Now, with the Paralympics in full swing, we have another chance to celebrate athletes from all over the world at the top of their game.

What we’re also seeing is real leadership and team work in action. For the athletes, coaches, trainers and support personnel, this approach can result in winning medals and international recognition and celebration of excellence.

However, putting together a world-class team doesn’t happen overnight or without any challenges.

It requires a visionary coach to spot the talent that will compete. Once the talent’s recruited, the team needs to function in a way that it enhances individual strengths to produce greater results than individuals on their own.

What I find fascinating is that, regardless of which approach and strategy each team and sport takes, it is the outstanding leadership that drives the team.

Business people will recognise these principles as similar to building a successful team, or even a successful company itself.

I still think we don’t place enough merit on effective leadership in our businesses, even though it’s critical to the successful growth of companies and our economy.

We know that companies with strong leaders are more productive, innovative and have better skills. They have global ambitions, are focused on seeking out new opportunities and are more likely to achieve their full potential.

Characteristics which I’m sure medal-winning team leaders and coaches demonstrate in abundance.

We already have some fantastic leaders of Scottish-based companies who can see the impact on their top and bottom line. I’d like to see more companies invest in their leadership for growth.

We recently announced that the 1,600 companies we work most closely with generated a combined turnover growth of £1.2 billion last year. That’s a 50 per cent increase on the previous year’s turnover growth of £790 million.

When you consider this in the context of Scottish GDP growing at an annual rate of just 0.2 per cent, these companies are bucking the economic trend.

I fully believe strong leadership has had a huge part to play in this. I’d encourage every company to review its leadership approach to ensure you’re getting the best possible impact from leaders and team work.

There are no medals to be won in business – just a huge opportunity for business excellence and international recognition that you are a world-class company.

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