A little over ten years ago, I walked out of my office in Shanghai and went for a walk instead of having lunch. I walked through an underground shopping area thinking about the last 25 years I've spent leading and running businesses.
I was wondering what have I learned that would be of value to any leader in this lengthy career? Having had the good fortune to work for large companies with multiple brands, who provided me with opportunities to grow as an individual and expand their businesses globally. My leadership perspective changed over time, I learned to deal with ambiguity and new cultures. There were many instances where I was a minority by complexion, features, language, religion and culture. I learned to deal with the unknown and work on fitting in. That is more effective, instead of trying to change the culture of a country, and more importantly the business itself.
I have been travelling the world on business for a long time. What I learned is that if you want to be effective and successful, you cannot be closed minded to personally changing. You must be open to risks, the unknown, and you cannot be biased or prejudiced. Your agenda as a leader should be to benefit all and demonstrate how you would accomplish that in your words and actions. Above all you have to be willing to immerse yourself in cultures or you learn nothing.
One of the challenges of leadership today is that many represent themselves as socially mono-biased because of self-serving beliefs and opinions. What does socially mono-biased mean? It is a term I use for leaders, regardless of roles, who are unable to effectively represent all social opinions and groups. They have not tried or are unwilling to see the other side.
The most successful leaders are inclusive, they just don't serve one group of people in their company or institution. To be successful you would have had to prove that you can serve every group and constituent.
I find that individuals within institutional organizations and political ones, with strong inclusive guidelines, can be easily saddled with leaders that are socially mono-biased. They are unable or unwilling driven by some subjective beliefs that they are right. Business, consumers, the public and tax payers cannot and do not benefit from socially mono-biased leadership. The world has changed, there is no longer a place for that kind of thinking or actions. If a leader is truly inclusive they will be more effective because they can rally everyone not just those that think as they do.
My name is George Minakakis I am the CEO of Inception Retail Group Inc. I have lived and worked leading companies, and conducted business around the world. From Australia, Canada, China, Europe and the USA. I have two books published and two more soon to be released.
A resident of Milton, Ontario and currently serve the community as board chair for Milton Hydro.