The last few years have seen a marked change in the way leadership and strategic development are viewed as central to continued business success. It is also well known that successful leading companies who have “visionary leaders” manage to “unlock” the potential of their employees. Over the years, a great deal has been written about the nature of leadership, and much of this work has involved contrasting leadership and management, with the general message being that management involves organising, planning and controlling the use of resources (finance, materials and staff) whilst leadership is more about motivating people. Nearly all organisations irrespective of size have a clearly defined management level, with associated powers and responsibilities, but there is not always a distinct leadership position. This is where many SMEs have an edge as the founder is often a visionary.
Challenges for SMEs in India
SME leaders face challenges arising out of the need to survive in an increasingly competitive, fast-changing environment with limited resources. Although many of the difficulties experienced appear to arise from factors external to the organisation, there is a general realisation that solutions must come from within and, more specifically, through the improved management of human resources and the freeing up the leader to focus on strategic development.
The fact that SME organisational strategies tend to be driven largely by concerns for survival and operational needs, may often result in SME leaders placing a greater emphasis on the importance of leadership experience ‘in-situ’ and on-the-job training rather than formal education and qualifications. Many founders are unable to ensure that their companies scale up and survive while others continue to grow and succeed into the future. What is it that same SMEs do differently? Participate in a closed-door discussion style to learn from the mistakes and successes of other SMEs. Share your experiences and learning. Create a template for your own organisation to ensure growth.