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The world needs leaders, possibly now more than ever. True leaders inspire those around them, they never manipulate or use fear, and more than anything – they know their ‘why’. At Glion, our students are being prepared to be leaders during their entire program, experiencing a transformative education. For Student Ambassador, Long Kowalczyk, a leader has a certain set of skills and abilities, as he explains.

By definition, a leader is someone who leads a group of people or organization. But what is a good leader? Or what defines a good leader? ​All kinds of businesses have varying experiences and perspectives on the ​qualities necessary for effective leadership​. And not all cases require the same type of leadership style.

‘A good leader is someone who inspires and motivates action’

We know that all great leaders are able to adapt to their environments and empower the team to succeed together. A good leader is someone who inspires and motivates action. Apart from being a master communicator and excellent coach, there’s something more a great leader needs to have. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Wright brothers they all followed a specific pattern in order to become successful leaders and owners of gigantic companies.

The Golden Circle

In 2009, Simon Sinek introduced the ‘Golden Circle’ during one of his Ted Talks. In it he talked about the three circles that make the Golden Circle of business. The Golden Circle defines the different entities or stages of business models. At the centre sits the ‘Why’, the purpose of the business, the difference it makes. The custodian of the ‘Why’ should always be the Founder, CEO or ultimate leader of the organization.

The problem for 99% of businesses is that they know WHAT they do, but most of them don’t know WHY they do it, apart from making profit. They’ve lost the leadership and their purpose. The result is they become a commodity, they’re seen by consumers as ‘just like the rest’ and they fail to relate to them on any level deeper than transactional. For example, TiVo.

The problem with TiVo

Marketer​s tend to say that the recipe to make your company successful is to have perfect market conditions, the best product on the market and the right people to work with. TiVo introduced a digital video recorder that allows a television viewer to record programming for watching at a later time.

It came out with the highest quality product on the market, they had perfect market conditions and they were well-funded. Within a few weeks there was no remarkable increase in sales on the market, people simply didn’t buy the product. This company was proof t​hat by having the best product and the best market conditions, it is not enough to succeed in the business. They didn’t have a clear purpose. Without an inspiring leader championing a cause or a belief it is extremely hard to attract any customers.

Apple know their why

Apple always start with ‘Why’, the centre of the Golden Circle. So instead of communicating how great is their product or how their items were made, they transfer their vision to potential buyers. Apple ‘think different’ – thereby challenging the status quo. Then they proceed to the ‘How’ question by persuading their potential customers that their spectacular designs are easy to use. Finally, they arrive at the ‘What’ question, Apple simply produces computers.

Simon Sinek​ debates that customers do not buy products because of what companies produce, but because of their purpose, their vision. Successful companies do not structurally differ from the competition, however, their customers think they do. Steve Jobs was never competing with Samsung or other phone companies, he just simply displayed his vision to the world, thanks to that Apple is one of the most influential companies in technology.

People buy these companies’ products simply because they are convinced that these companies are better than their competition, because subconsciously they provided an answer to the question ‘Why’.

A leader can make all the difference

After analyzing two different companies situations, we can deduct that a leader with great communication skills, creative ideas and high decision-making capabilities, will still be able to drive the team toward the goal. But a leader with a belief and vision will be able to stand out from other leaders by thriving even at the toughest moments of the company.

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About the author

Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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